We have all spent the last decade building a robust infrastructure for Public Health Preparedness. More than ever, it is important that we sustain our infrastructure and continue to strengthen it. One cost-effective way to do this is through an annual, month-long campaign to promote public health preparedness and response. September 2013 marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and CDC will use this month to promote activities that bring attention to our national health security.
Below are highlights of CDC’s planned activities.
Twitter chat with CDC Director
- Have a preparedness-related question for the CDC Director? Dr. Frieden will be discussing general preparedness information as well as how preparedness has changed over the years. This is open to the public, so mark your calendars for September 27, 1:00 pm—2:00 pm EDT.
Engaging kids in preparedness
- CDC’s family preparedness project called Ready Wrigley features activity books for ages 2-6 that follow a preparedness puppy as she tries to get her family ready for various events. The first two issues cover hurricane and earthquake preparedness. We’re also working on an app for release later in the year.
Families with Special Needs
- CDC’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) will be running a series on families with special needs and how they cope with disasters. If this aligns with any of your missions, please let us know and we can connect you with this group to help promote or partner with them.
History of Preparedness
- The Public Health Matters blog will be covering the history of preparedness and how it has shaped the way we respond to disasters. This includes talking about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and how we’ve adopted the IMS structure and CDC’s state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center (EOC). We will also talk about major disease outbreaks like SARs, H1N1, and the recent fungal meningitis outbreak, touching on how astute physicians and local health departments are usually the first to notify CDC of a potential threat. We’ll wrap the month up with current outbreaks and threats and how we are responding (H7N9 and Cyclospora). We would love to incorporate lessons learned from our partners; therefore, if you have content you think would be valuable please let us know immediately so we can incorporate it and promote your programs on the blog.
Preparedness Check Video
- We are launching a new webisode series in September where we visit companies and attractions throughout the Atlanta area and review their preparedness plans. Our first taping will take place with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
In the past, we have seen great returns on investment during National Preparedness Month, and we hope this year can be even more impactful by fully leveraging partnerships. For example, last year we estimated that CDC’s social media reach was regularly over 2 million people. However, taking into account re-tweets, re-posts, and the metrics from partners during National Preparedness Month, we amplified our message dissemination by over 24%. Let’s make an even bigger impact together this year.
Likewise, please share your plans so we can cross-promote and expand the reach of our mutual messages.
Ali S. Khan, MD MPH
Assistant Surgeon General (retired) & Director
Office of Public Health Preparedness & Response
DHHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention