On Public Health Security - April 2016 - The Evolving Role of the Strategic National Stockpile

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The Evolving Role of the Strategic National Stockpile



On Public Health Security
April 2016
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

Many of you are familiar with the great work of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) in supplementing local medicine and medical supplies when disaster strikes. What you may not know is how the role of SNS is evolving so that CDC can have an even greater ability to protect the nation’s health.

Stepping Up Supply Chain Management Support to Partners. In the 17 years since Congress authorized the National Stockpile, CDC has learned a considerable amount about dispensing medical countermeasures (medicine and medical supplies that CDC ships to states and localities during a public health emergency). While dispensing efforts are critical and often the most visible outcome of SNS activities, they are part of the larger supply chain, which includes manufacturing and distributing products, identifying the right products to address specific public health threats, and ensuring that people who need these products receive them when and where they are needed. With experience in supply chain management during responses, CDC is expanding its role as a technical consultant—connecting partners, federal agencies, state and local public health officials, and others in the supply chain. Let me provide you with a couple of examples of how CDC’s SNS experts are working with partners in this area.

Providing Medical Countermeasure Information to Partners during Public Health Emergencies. During a public health emergency, CDC provides information about the supply chain to other federal partners, as well as state and local public health officials. This information-sharing has led to the development of guidance on the use of products during a public health emergency and promotes informed decision-making for all partners engaged in a response. For example, during the Ebola response, CDC monitored local supplies of personal protective equipment and encourage hospitals, public health, and healthcare coalitions to share plans during a time when supply was not meeting demand. CDC also partnered with industry to understand expected delivery times of needed supplies, to identify and inform partners about supply gaps, and to assist in redirecting supplies when needed.

Building Supply Chain Knowledge to Improve Planning. In addition to the information-sharing that occurs during a public health emergency, CDC works to identify strategies with partners related to operating more effectively and efficiently when procuring, storing, and distributing product. These strategies are based on information like how much product is needed versus how much is available, which critical locations need it, where to redirect product, and when to release stockpiled material in the United States.

CDC is working with partners to build this understanding of the supply chain through a variety of mechanisms. Most recently, CDC began a series of webinars for its partners, addressing topics such as Navigating the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Partnering with the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Principles of Inventory Management, and Principles of Pharmaceutical Regulation. This knowledge will put partners in a better position to plan for medical countermeasure needs and better respond to public health emergencies. For more information on this webinar series, visit https://www.healthcareready.org/preparing-for-disasters.

As the work of SNS evolves and CDC increasingly serves as a consultant for medical countermeasure supply chain management, our core SNS responsibilities—warehousing needed medical countermeasures, filling in gaps when local supplies run out, and supporting state and local efforts to receive and distribute SNS countermeasures—remain unchanged. However, we know that building and sharing knowledge about the medical countermeasure supply chain with partners will lead to better plans and the more efficient use of medical countermeasures in emergencies. Our work with partners in supply chain management is just one of many ways that CDC is working to be prepared for when the next emergency occurs.

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

Noteworthy Reading

CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) has posted a number of scientific articles with information and recommendations about the Zika virus. MMWR is an excellent resource for physicians, nurses, public health practitioners, epidemiologists and other scientists, researchers, educators, and laboratorians. Learn more about Zika on the MMWR website.


Training Opportunities

Foundations of Public Health Preparedness, a joint effort from CDC and the Public Health Foundation, offers introductory public health preparedness training for public health professionals. The online courses promote competence in public health preparedness and response. Register for free through CDC TRAIN.


Upcoming Conferences

The 2016 Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Annual Meeting and Tenth Government Environmental Laboratory Conference will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 6-9. The conference provides an opportunity to learn more about issues in laboratory science and explore new ways to manage laboratories. For more information, visit the APHL website.


The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) will hold its annual conference in Anchorage, Alaska, June 19-23. More than 1,400 public health epidemiologists will have the opportunity to share their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology as well as best practices in areas including informatics, infectious diseases, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health. Learn more about the conference at the CSTE website.