On Public Health Security - May 2015

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On Public Health Security
May 2015
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

I recently had the privilege to attend NACCHO’s 2015 Preparedness Summit hosted here in Atlanta, GA. The theme for the conference was Global Health Security: Preparing a Nation for Emerging Threats, and it couldn’t align better with PHPR’s preparedness work. Two big topics really stood out for me this year — partnerships and thinking globally while planning locally.

Collaboration and partnerships are paramount when planning and responding to emergency events. Over the years, jurisdictional lines have blurred as we become more connected through technology, more mobile as urban areas expand, and increasingly interdependent on one another for resources. Preparedness coordinators Greg Galfano from Tennessee and Leigh Wilsey from Florida presented at a session centered on the Project Public Health Ready program, which is designed to encourage coordination between state and local levels during the preparedness planning phase by recognizing agencies that collaborate well. In addition, the Preparedness Coordinators Training Workshop provided information about NACCHO’s New Preparedness Coordinators Training and Mentoring Program, and it was an excellent opportunity for new public health preparedness coordinators to collaborate and obtain tools and resources that will enable them to better do their jobs. During the summit, there were additional sessions emphasizing the importance of meaningful partnerships that go beyond a contact list, and start well before a disaster ever strikes. The key takeaway was that trusting relationships need to be in place to make a response more efficient and to potentially save more lives.

Ebola is a prime example of how a global event impacts us locally and emphasizes the importance of partnerships. It was apparent from the sessions that there has to be “whole community” involvement to respond efficiently. Events like Ebola require an immense amount of resources and training—NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Marisa Raphael spoke of the many partners and resources used during their response to Ebola at the closing plenary session. It is truly “all hands on deck” when a global health issue becomes a local health response. Resource intensive, global responses like Ebola, SARS, and MERS-CoV become local as soon as a patient touches US soil, and the importance of partnerships and collaboration becomes evident during those times of emergency. In fact, ASPR led a plenary session and a learning session surrounding the topics of resiliency and “whole community” efforts to spark meaningful conversation and really drive home the importance of effectively working together. We must prepare domestically for potential impacts that global health events may have on our local communities.

NACCHO’s conference offered an opportunity for preparedness partners to come together, brainstorm, and learn from one another in an effort to increase health security globally and build preparedness locally. It was my pleasure to be a part of such an incredible event and witness all of the amazing work partners are doing in the field to prepare us for the next disaster.

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

Noteworthy Updates

CSTE Annual Conference will be in Boston this Year

This year’s CSTE Annual Conference will include plenary sessions and workshops with public health leaders, breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and poster exhibits. Attendees include over 1,200 public health epidemiologists from across the country to share their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology. The conference will be held from June 14th – June 18th.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2015

May 24th – May 30th is National Hurricane Preparedness week. NOAA, DHS, FEMA, and the National Hurricane Center will be promoting hurricane preparedness via a series of hurricane weather related topics. Visit www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare for more information.

Have an Interesting and Impactful Preparedness Story to Tell?

We love to share with our partners the amazing preparedness work being done in the field. If you have a compelling story to tell, submit it here using our template. We look forward to seeing all of your wonderful stories.