On Public Health Security - January 2016 - PHPR’s Priorities for 2016

PHPR’s Priorities for 2016


On Public Health Security
January 2016
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

The beginning of a new year always brings an opportunity to look forward and get invigorated about the challenges ahead of us. How can we make the biggest impact in public health? Where can we direct our efforts so when the next public health emergency arrives, we can best respond to ensure the safety and health of our communities? To kick-off the New Year, I would like to share with you our continued commitment to the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response’s (PHPR) overarching priorities that will guide our preparedness and response work in 2016.

Executing our Responses Flawlessly. Since March 2014, West Africa has experienced the largest outbreak of Ebola in history, with widespread transmission in multiple countries. CDC has been working nonstop to bring the number of Ebola cases to zero. Widespread transmission is now controlled in all three of the most affected countries. However, additional cases may continue to occur sporadically, and our ongoing support will be needed in West Africa. With permanent offices now in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, we are committed to continuing to help all three countries improve their surveillance and response systems for Ebola and other diseases with epidemic potential through:

  • Effective surveillance for detecting possible cases and investigating unexpected deaths
  • Laboratories that can rapidly test for diseases of epidemic concern
  • Healthcare facilities prepared to evaluate, isolate, and treat any patients with potential epidemic diseases safely and quickly
  • Effective contact tracing systems
  • Safe burial practices
  • Programs to prevent sexual transmission from survivors

CDC remains committed in its support of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). As a part of that effort, PHPR will continue its work to build global emergency management capacity in 17 countries, including the three countries most significantly impacted by Ebola. Our partners are supporting an additional 14 countries, bringing the total to 31 countries with enhanced capabilities. This important work addresses all three fundamental elements of the emergency management program framework — the EOC facility, well-trained staff, and documented processes. These activities will further strengthen public health preparedness capacity for not only Ebola, but for any type of public health emergency.

We have learned much from the Ebola response as we do with all high-level emergency activations. In 2016, PHPR will continue to refine the way we respond to public health emergencies by ensuring CDC and our partners are ready when disaster strikes.

Preparing to Respond. Last year, PHPR began foundational work to examine how our programs are making a difference in the many areas that we work in day-to-day — enhancing public health preparedness in states, cities and territories; supporting the capability for medicine and medical supplies to be delivered in the event of a public health emergency; ensuring research on biological and select agents and toxins is conducted as safely and securely as possible; and responding to domestic and global public health emergencies. In 2016, PHPR will be measuring CDC’s preparedness investments in multiple ways. This project will provide CDC leadership with an ongoing snapshot of progress – and the lengths still needed to go – on key activities happening within PHPR. The goals of the project are to improve accountability, help articulate return on investment, and increase transparency of federal public health preparedness and response investments to stakeholders. Looking ahead, CDC will seek out ways to make our outcomes clearer and more accessible to partners and the public at large.

Enhancing PHPR Collaborations with Partners. In 2015, PHPR invested time and resources to better understand our partner relationships. To do this, we took a closer look at our partners’ many capabilities and strategic priorities to determine how to best engage and serve the public health community. We are very pleased thus far with how aligned we are with many of our partners and are eager to continue our collaborative efforts towards improving the nation’s public health preparedness. Looking into 2016, we’re excited to begin reaching out more strategically to partners in different areas of public health and working even more closely to move the needle on some of the most significant public health issues of our time.

Although the priorities above will guide much of our work, we will also have a number of additional, highly critical activities that we will work on in 2016. CDC will begin implementing actionable items recommended after last year’s 90-day review of the Federal Select Agent Program. In addition, we will stay committed to respond quickly and efficiently to any emerging public health threats, and I am sure that there will be other, unforeseen events that will require our expertise. We look forward to a year of productive work, and I also look forward to hearing from you. If you have information to share about your organization’s priorities for 2016 and how they align with those above, please reach out to us at PHPRPartners@cdc.gov.

Thank you,
Stephen C. Redd, MD
Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Upcoming Conferences

CDC International Symposium on Biosafety Management

The 14th CDC International Symposium on Biosafety in Atlanta, GA is presented in partnership with the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA International) and the Eagleson Institute. Topics will include: risk governance; risk tolerance; risk communication; risks specific to field workers, healthcare workers, and international visitors; emerging regulatory guidelines; and the future of biosafety workforce, training, and competencies. The conference will be held from January 30 - February 3.

2016 AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference

This year’s National Health Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., provides a close look at the nation’s health policy agenda. Now in its 16th year, the conference will be held from February 1-2.

ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting

The 2016 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting will bring together individuals carrying out research to defend against the growing threat of bioterrorism with the decision makers shaping the future biodefense research agenda. The meeting will be held in Arlington, VA, February 8-10.


Noteworthy Info

CDC 2015: What kept us up at night and what will keep us busy in 2016

Check out this link for current and future information on Ebola, Antibiotic Resistance, Global Health Security, Smoking and Tobacco Use, Prescription Drug Overdose and Lab Safety.