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January 2018

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doctor Stephen C. Redd, MD

Dear Partners,

The threats that challenged us in 2017, including three devastating hurricanes and the continuing challenges of Zika, remind us of the important roles partnerships play in keeping people safe and healthy during emergencies. They also remind us that preparation for public health emergencies requires cooperation from every level of government, the public and private sector, and non-governmental organizations. This year, my colleagues and I look forward to continuing work with a wide range of partners to support CDC’s role as the common defense of the country against public health threats. We will accomplish this by more efficiently distributing critical medical supplies during emergencies, preparing for the most likely emergency scenarios, and improving tools to share information and data.

Increasing Efficiency in Medical Countermeasure Distribution and Dispensing

Partnerships with the private sector and other government agencies help ensure a coordinated approach to every step of the medical supply chain, from manufacture to delivery. An efficient supply chain ensures that critical medical supplies, known as medical countermeasures (MCMs), can quickly get to those who need them during a public health emergency. This year CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) will host three public meetings to connect with experts in areas of medical supply manufacturing, distribution, and transportation, and discuss specific SNS needs for future contracting opportunities. These meetings will give CDC the opportunity to answer questions about the government’s requirements and better understand vendor capabilities to improve contract solicitations and proposals. This is an important step in improving communications and expectations with the contractors that support the needs of the SNS, leading to more effective and efficient responses.  

SNS will continue to work with supply chain management partners such as the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) and the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA). Our work will focus on anticipating potential shortages of critical stockpile products in the event of an emergency, and identifying strategies for increasing their availability where they are needed most. SNS, along with our Division of State and Local Readiness, will continue to work with the nation’s highest risk cities identified by the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) to test their emergency response plans for receiving MCMs from SNS and distributing them to dispensing sites throughout the city.  Exercises are scheduled throughout this year to assess cities’ capabilities and help refine their assumptions and planning for MCM response.

CDC uses a rigorous assessment process to evaluate state and local jurisdictions’ capabilities to distribute MCMs to dispensing sites and dispense MCMs to individuals and families in an emergency. Through these assessments, CDC can support state and local jurisdictions in their efforts to effectively protect communities. Over the next two years, CDC will conduct nearly 500 of these assessments throughout the country. CDC will also expand this review process to measure all 15 public health preparedness capabilities and is in the process of updating these capability standards to account for current emergency preparedness and response priorities.

Preparing for the Most Likely Scenarios

This year, CDC will focus on sustaining and improving its own preparedness efforts for scenarios that are the most likely to occur, such as outbreaks of infectious diseases like influenza. For example, CDC is leading a series of combined planning and exercise events with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), other Federal agencies, and state, local, and tribal organizations. This is known as the Pandemic Influenza Training & Exercise Program, or PI-TEP, and its final exercise is scheduled for September of this year.

CDC will also initiate changes to its risk-based approach for state and local MCM planning. Specifically, all jurisdictions will be required to maintain fully developed plans to ensure their readiness to respond to an intentional release of a toxic agent, such as anthrax, and an emerging infectious disease outbreak, such as pandemic influenza.

Increasing Efficiency of Information Sharing

The Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) will continue to develop, implement, and refine a new electronic information system that improves the real-time sharing of information between FSAP and regulated laboratories. This will help FSAP provide faster regulatory guidance and rapidly address issues of potential public health concern.  

CDC will also meet with technology and business sector partners to discuss opportunities for sharing data and developing tools for emergency response. These tools would help response leaders better identify and pre-position response and recovery support where it may be needed, and would also help to rapidly share critical information with affected populations before and after an event.

We remain committed to responding quickly and efficiently to emerging public health threats. I look forward to a year of productive work, and I also look forward to hearing from you, our partners. If you have ideas or suggestions to help us move forward on our priorities, or would like to share information about your organization’s priorities for 2018, please reach out to us at PHPRPartners@cdc.gov.

Thank you,

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

Upcoming Events

Attend the AcademyHealth 2018 National Health Policy Conference, entitled “Reconciliation, Regulation, and Regular Order,” taking place February 5th-6th in Washington, D.C.

Learn best practices in social media strategy at the Social Media Strategies Summit, taking place February 8th-9th in San Francisco, CA.

Learn about high consequence pathogen research and biological threat reduction at the 2018 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Biothreats Meeting, taking place February 12th-14th in Baltimore, Maryland.

Attend the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) 2018 Public Policy Conference and Business Exposition taking place March 4th-6th in Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources

CDC recently announced a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on Technical Assistance for Response to Public Health or Healthcare Crises, to strengthen the US public health system’s response to these crises by funding qualified organizations to provide expert technical assistance to those responding.

This month’s issue of CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal features an article entitled “Zika Virus Testing and Outcomes during Pregnancy, Florida, USA, 2016,” which highlights results from a retrospective chart review of pregnant women screened for Zika virus in Miami-Date County, Florida.

Last month, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released a report entitled “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism,” which provides recommendations that address many of the major gaps in emergency health preparedness.

To help meet the needs of children in disasters, CDC's Children’s Preparedness Unit recently activated a Children’s Health Desk for the 2017 hurricane response.Their work includes collaborating with the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop videos about hurricane safety and a children’s activity book about flooding and mold. Visit their new webpage, “Caring for Children in a Disaster.

centers for disease control and prevention - office of public health preparedness and response

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