On Public Health Security - December 2013

PHPR’s greatest achievements of 2013

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On Public Health Security
December 2013  
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Dr. Ali S. Khan

Dear Partners,

Before the year’s end, I want to thank you on behalf of CDC for the contributions you have made in 2013 to protect our national health security. Similar to my début partner letter last year, I would like to share with you the significant achievements of CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) for 2013. In the spirit of partnership, I hope this highlight will give you a sense of pride because I truly believe that our shared mission gives us all equal ownership to these successes.

PHPR  Priority 1:  Develop Innovative Approaches to Reach Goals and Achieve Better Results

  • We supported the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in coordinating development of the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI), which involved more than 75 experts representing states, counties, cities, partner agencies, academia, private sector and other organizations. This tool was released in December 2013 and provides an annual measure of health security and preparedness at the national and state levels. 
  • We were awarded HHSignite innovation funds to launch a six-month pilot micro-tasking project called CDCOLOGYTM. This is the nation's first crowdsourcing platform for student engagement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The site offers a unique experience where students learn about public health and its importance by completing short challenges directly impacting national initiatives, both large and small. 
  • We developed the GS-0089 occupational job series to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of emergency management staff in successfully executing CDC’s emergency management program.  
  • We advanced public-private partnerships in support of medical countermeasure dispensing activities by engaging two national big-box retailers in pilot projects designed to promote private sector support in preparedness planning and response efforts across the country.

PHPR  Priority 2:  Increase Operational Efficiency and Improve Processes

  • On October 7, 2013, we were the first federal agency to receive full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), representing our deep commitment to continually enhancing response capabilities to public health emergencies.
  • We reduced costs in travel, supply, and printing by $990,463, or 49%, since FY10; extended telework resulting in $200k savings on leased space; reduced key operating costs by 52% from FY10 to current FY; and restructured contracts to save $7M in each of the next 4 years.
  • We evaluated and reduced the number of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement measures from 47 to 29, and improved utility and validity of remaining measures.
  • We published biosafety guidelines in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report (MMWR) for working with a significant potential public health threat (Influenza A H5N1).
  • We revised the Import Permit and Select Agent Regulations, which became fully-effective in April 2013.

PHPR  Priority 3:  Leverage a Balanced Approach, addressing Critical Gaps in Preparedness
and Collaborating with Key Partners

  • We aligned language in the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) and the FY13 Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP)-Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) guidance to promote effective state and local coordination of preparedness planning among the emergency management, public health, and healthcare sectors.
  • We completed the Whole Community project in collaboration with the CDC Foundation (funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency) by gathering lessons learned and best practices from seven programs across the country that exemplified FEMA’s Whole Community approach to preparedness and emergency response
  • We coordinated the development of biosafety guidelines with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a newly emerging pathogen (Influenza A H7N9)
  • We partnered with the Ministries of Health in China, Uganda, Vietnam, Kenya, and Korea to build or enhance public health emergency operations centers and provide technical assistance that will further assist with strengthening emergency management capacity

While this list is not all-inclusive, it is becoming my holiday tradition to reflect on these achievements and share the highlights with you—our partners. As I said last year, we can accomplish more together than apart, so let’s continue to build our collaborations. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you,

Ali S. Khan, MD MPH
Assistant Surgeon General (retired) & Director
Office of Public Health Preparedness & Response
DHHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The 2013 National Health Security Preparedness Index™ Now Available at www.NHSPI.org

December 4, 2013, marked the unveiling and official release of the National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™) with a public briefing about this first-of-its-kind tool. Built by the community, for the community, the NHSPI™ provides a new way to measure and advance the nation’s readiness to protect people during disaster.

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