On Public Health Security - May 2016 - Resiliency and Recovery Reverberate at the 2016 Preparedness Summit

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On Public Health Security - May 2016 - Resiliency and Recovery Reverberate at the 2016 Preparedness Summit



On Public Health Security
May 2016
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

In late April, I had the honor of attending NACCHO’s 2016 Preparedness Summit in Dallas, Texas. This year’s theme, "Planning Today for Rebuilding Tomorrow: Resiliency and Recovery in the 21st Century," provided a platform for sharing exciting new ways to build communities able to withstand and quickly rebound from emergencies. After years of progress in other areas of preparedness, resiliency and recovery are finally achieving attention as elements vital to holistic planning and response.

From the opening of the conference, speakers repeatedly recognized partnerships as a key to building resilient communities. Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials, spoke about ways partnerships can be leveraged to improve resiliency. He cited an innovative partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the international organization 100 Resilient Cities as an example of such a partnership. Marion Mollegen McFadden, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs, and Andrew Salkin, Chief Operating Officer of 100 Resilient Cities, discussed their collaboration on the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), which aims to aid states and local communities in recovering from disasters while helping them bolster their ability to withstand future emergencies. They shared how they worked together to overcome obstacles and realize a vision of robust, flexible communities. I encourage you to learn more about the NDRC winners’ projects, which will advance their community’s resilience plans.

In another session about connecting with hard-to-reach populations in the Seattle area, the speaker noted that partnerships were key to understanding and communicating with immigrant and refugee groups. Robin Pfohman with Public Health – Seattle and King County and Katie Stanford of Whatcom County Health Department shared the process and lessons learned as they sought to reach Latino seasonal workers, Slavic immigrants, and Somali immigrants and refugees. In the Somali community, they found success through forming the Somali Health Board, comprised of local leaders, community members and organizations. The Board creates a conduit to communicate health messages to their community and link with the public health system during an emergency.

CoPE-WELL, a tool to help public health practitioners build community resilience to disasters, was presented at the conference as well. CoPE-WELL is a collaboration between UPMC Center for Health Security, Johns Hopkins University, and CDC. Drs. Judith Mitrani-Reiser and Jonathan Links from Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Eric Carbone from OPHPR presented the tool at the conference. They demonstrated the tool’s use to predict a community’s response to a disaster and foster cross-sector conversations about how to strengthen community function. The model for the tool served as the framework for another notable collaboration between the University of Delaware and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This academic and public health partnership allowed them to study household preparedness at the time of Hurricane Sandy in New York City and examine the roles of community-based organizations in the response. They used the data to design interventions to strengthen social cohesion in the city. These kind of collaborations show how partnerships can reveal new perspectives on a population’s needs and assets, and spark fresh ideas on ways to bolster community resilience.

Once again, the Preparedness Summit provided an invaluable opportunity for conversation, learning, and collaboration between diverse, but interconnected, preparedness partners. I left the conference with renewed energy and excitement for how our community of public health preparedness and response professionals can make real progress on resilience and recovery planning.

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

Noteworthy Reading

A strong, healthy community is one key to resilience in the face of disaster. The Healthy Community Design Toolkit offers new tools to empower people to include health in decisions about where they live, work, and play. The resources and website provide education materials for local and public health officials, planners, and individuals to use in creating healthy communities.


Upcoming Events

APHL to be held in Albuquerque June 6th-9th. The Association of Public Health Laboratories’ Annual Meeting and Tenth Government Environmental Laboratory Conference is where attendees learn about issues in laboratory science and explore new ways to manage laboratories.

World Blood Donor Day on June 14th. The theme for the World Health Organization’s 2016 World Blood Day is "Blood connects us all." See videos highlighting stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation here.

CSTE coming to Anchorage June 19th-28th. The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologist’s Annual Conference connects more than 1,400 public health epidemiologists to share their expertise and best practices in epidemiology and surveillance.