After almost 4 years as Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) and a total of 23 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), my time here is coming to a close. The time spent working in preparedness has been the best of my career. The CDC staff and partners I have worked with are an amazing group. Together we have dedicated ourselves every day to our mission - keeping Americans safe from all public health threats. Before I move on in July to become the new dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, I want to share some final thoughts with you.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” - Helen Keller
We all recognize that partnerships are more critical now than ever before to ensure health security. Working together and leveraging one another’s strengths, we can greatly expand our impact through outreach and collaboration. Reflecting on our recent work, there are a number of initiatives that have benefitted greatly from our combined efforts. We have created the National Health Security Preparedness Index – a new way to measure our nation’s preparedness; worked with our international partners to foster emergency management programs across the globe in places such as China, Kenya, and Uganda; and launched Operation Dragon Fire, a major multi-partner project that will serve as a unified and timely single source of trusted information leading up to and during emergencies.
With the current momentum, I know there will be additional opportunities for partners to collaborate with PHPR in exciting new ways. PHPR has an incredibly strong and resilient leadership team and staff; their work with partners will continue unabated. With a CDC Director who is extremely committed to CDC’s Health Security role, and continuing PHPR priorities in place, the path forward remains clear. I believe that PHPR’s vision – people’s health protected; public health secured – will continue to carry public health preparedness and response to new heights. Thank you for helping to drive this vision forward. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with each of our valued partners.
Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH
Assistant Surgeon General (retired) & Director
Office of Public Health Preparedness & Response
DHHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention