On Public Health Security - May 2017 - 2017 Preparedness Summit: Preparedness in a Changing World

On Public Health Security - May 2017 - 2017 Preparedness Summit: Preparedness in a Changing World

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On Public Health Security
May 2017
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,


In April, I had the privilege of attending the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) 2017 Preparedness Summit, which brought over 1,750 state, local, tribal and national level public health professionals to Atlanta. This year’s theme was “Forces of Change: Capabilities, Innovation, & Partnerships.” Summit sessions highlighted opportunities to harness these forces to address emerging threats to the public’s health.


The summit began with a plenary session featuring the co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, former Governor Tom Ridge and former Senator Joe Lieberman. They discussed their perspectives on the future of public health preparedness, which included a strong endorsement for continuing focus on work at the state and local levels. The Panel was established to provide an assessment of the status of U.S. biodefense efforts and offer recommendations. The speakers also discussed the Panel’s recent report “A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts,” which provided 33 recommendations to improve our nation’s biodefense.


CDC staff participated in the summit, sharing information about new and ongoing preparedness and response work at CDC, including demonstrating CDC-supported tools available to state and local health departments to help them improve preparedness in their districts. One of these tools is RealOpt©, a computer modeling program to help medical countermeasure (MCM) planners design points of dispensing (POD) sites and treatment clinics. Another is SNS TourSolver™, a tool that enables planners to generate optimized routes for distributing supplies to POD locations. Our staff also supported a demonstration of the Inventory Management Tracking System (IMATS), which helps state and local public health agencies continuously track MCM inventory and supplies both during daily operations and during an emergency.


In another plenary session, speakers discussed how emerging technologies are being used in public health preparedness and response. Presenters gave examples of how social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have been used, and showed how these platforms could allow pharmacies to have real-time access to information on antiviral inventory during an influenza outbreak.


Representatives from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation hosted a session to obtain feedback on the latest results of the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI). The 2017 index, released last month, shows how preparedness for disasters, disease outbreaks, and other emergencies has very gradually improved each year since 2013. Despite progress in many areas, current indices of health security remain far from optimal, and we must continue work to improve the nation’s health security.


I also had the opportunity to moderate a session on the Zika virus response. The CDC presentations covered the 2016 Zika response, plans for the upcoming year, and anticipated changes to CDC guidance for 2017. Speakers from New York City, Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico provided different perspectives on successes and challenges. The range of issues addressed included surveillance, vector control, using data to guide interventions, and risk communications. I was particularly impressed with analyses undertaken in New York City to focus efforts to increase laboratory testing for Zika in parts of the city with the highest proportion of immigrants from countries with widespread Zika transmission.


It was a terrific summit that brought together perspectives from the national, state and local level. Congratulations to NACCHO for hosting such an impressive event!


Thank you,


Stephen C. Redd, MD


Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Upcoming Events

Register now for a Medical Surge Planning and Hospital Evacuation Webinar hosted by NACCHO on May 17th at noon. Presenters will provide insights from their experiences during major emergency events.

Work with other public health professionals to cultivate an environment for better health at the 2017 Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference from June 4th-8th in Boise, Idaho.

Explore the latest developments in laboratory science at the 2017 Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Annual Meeting from June 11th-14th in Providence, Rhode Island.


Additional Resources

CDC, in partnership with the March of Dimes, launched Zika Care Connect, a website that connects pregnant women and families affected by Zika to physicians across ten states who are able to provide specialty care.

NACCHO has released its 2016 National Profile of Local Health Departments (Profile) report. The profile is a comprehensive survey of local health department infrastructure and practice that NACCHO administers every three years.

April’s Vital Signs presents CDC’s latest findings on Zika virus infection during pregnancy and the critical need for pregnant women to continue taking steps to prevent exposure to Zika virus.

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) article, “Characteristics of Fentanyl Overdose —Massachusetts, 2014-2016”, reports on high rates of overdose deaths caused by illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) article, “Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza — United States, 2017”, provides updated guidance on the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that can be used to help slow transmission of the influenza virus in communities.