On Public Health Security - November 2016 - Reflecting on CDC's PHEP Program: Progress and Plans for the Future

On Public Health Security - November 2016 - Reflecting on CDC's PHEP Program: Progress and Plans for the Future

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On Public Health Security
November 2016
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,

Last month, I attended the 12th Annual Directors of Public Health Preparedness (DPHP) meeting in New York City, hosted by the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Each year, this meeting brings together federal partners and preparedness directors from states, territories, and cities that are funded through our Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement. The meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to collaborate on strategies to advance public health emergency preparedness. Representatives from PHEP-funded state public health departments shared best practices and lessons learned from exercises and emergency responses, which were largely made possible through PHEP funding.

Because all responses are initially local events, public health departments play an extremely important role in keeping communities safe during emergencies. CDC’s PHEP program is a critical source of funding, guidance, and technical assistance for state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments to strengthen their public health preparedness capabilities and build more resilient communities.

While at the DPHP meeting I reflected on the significant achievements the PHEP program has made over the years. Most importantly:

  • 98% of PHEP awardees are prepared to mobilize staff during an emergency compared with 20% before 9/11.
  • 100% of awardees have an Incident Command System with pre-assigned roles in place compared with 5% before 9/11.
  • 92% of awardees include collaboration with health care agencies in their preparedness plans compared with 8% before 9/11.
  • 98% of awardees have sufficient storage and distribution capacity for medical countermeasures (MCMs) compared with zero before 9/11.

While I’m very proud of the progress we have made over the last 15 years, there is still much work to be done. One of our main priorities for the next five years is to ensure that the nation’s largest population centers are able to rapidly distribute and dispense lifesaving medications and medical supplies to the public in a large-scale emergency. The MCM operational readiness review (MCM ORR) tool is one way CDC and state health departments can assess a jurisdiction’s ability to put their MCM plans into action. To help address MCM readiness gaps, CDC created the new Online Technical Resource and Assistance Center (On-TRAC). Through this portal, PHEP awardees can request technical assistance and quickly access resources like guidance documents related to MCM distribution and dispensing. CDC will also continue to offer ongoing virtual and in-person training to increase state and local expertise in MCM planning.

We understand that quantifying the value of preparedness and communicating the importance of sustaining this work for the long-term can be challenging. To help partners convey this message with a clear and consistent voice, ASTHO developed a new toolkit: Promoting the Impact and Importance of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.

We hope our partners will continue to help us spread the word about the PHEP program’s accomplishments and how sustaining it for the long-term protects the health and safety of our communities. At the same time, my staff and I will continue to work diligently to ensure that our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners have the tools and resources they need to keep their communities safe and healthy.

Thank you,

Stephen C. Redd, MD


Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


 Upcoming Events

Attend the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) annual conference on December 6th-8th, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme this year is “New Frontiers in Surveillance: Data Science and Health Security.”

Participate in the National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference (NHCPC), taking place December 12th-14th, 2016, in Washington, DC. This conference provides information about the implementation of healthcare coalitions and coalition activities, and supports coalitions attempting to meet HHS/ASPR HPP and CDC PHEP program requirements.

Be part of RES/CON, an annual international conference focused on resiliency and disaster management that takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. Programming covers a variety of topics, including economic resilience, coastal restoration and water management, and business continuity. This year the conference will take place March 7th-9th, 2017.  

Attend the 2017 Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference on April 18th-20th, in Tacoma, Washington. The conference provides the opportunity for attendees to develop partnerships and learn established best practices in emergency response.

Participate in the 2017 National Hurricane Conference on April 17th-20th in New Orleans, Louisiana. The goal of this conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, and provide a space for federal, state and local officials to share ideas.

 Call for Papers

CDC is sponsoring a special supplement issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) called “The Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management from Preparedness to Response and Recovery.” Instructions for potential authors and specific guidelines for the manuscripts are available on the AJPH website. Submissions are due no later than January 15, 2017.

 Zika Resources

With the holiday season approaching, and the potential for travel to and from areas with Zika virus increasing, it is important communities are aware of how to stay safe. Share these Zika prevention resources with your communities!

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled “Preparedness for Zika Virus Disease—New York City, 2016”, highlights New York City’s Zika Preparedness and Response Action Plan. The plan builds upon the framework the city established in 2014 to screen patients for possible exposure to Ebola.

For the latest information about Zika, visit the CDC Zika Home Page.