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Public Health Preparedness: Are We Ready for Disaster?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax assaults, the federal government began to reevaluate the nation’s preparedness for public health emergencies. Since then, the nation has been hit by massive floods, hurricanes and other disasters, and last year Hurricane Sandy swept up the east coast, crippling several states and nearly exhausting emergency services.

Despite the continued need for a strong emergency response infrastructure to combat natural disasters, reemerging diseases, pandemics and food-borne illnesses, state health department budgets have been shrinking.

What is the nation’s state of preparedness for public health emergencies? What are the consequences of continued budget cuts to local and state health departments? Is the nation prepared for future disasters at both the federal and local level? What resources do we need to be adequately prepared? What can we learn from past emergencies, such as the recent Hurricane Sandy, to be more prepared in the future?

A distinguished panel of experts addressed these and related questions.

Ali Khan, director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided an overview of the state of emergency preparedness at the federal level.

Jack Herrmann, senior advisor and chief of public health preparedness at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, explained how local health departments are coping with budget reductions.

Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, described the group’s emergency preparedness initiative. Ed Howard of the Alliance and John Lumpkin of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will co-moderate the discussion.

Rosanne Prats, executive director, Emergency Preparedness Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, described how the state of Louisiana has dealt with past emergencies and what they have learned from those experiences.

Ed Howard of the Alliance and John Lumpkin of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation co-moderated.

Contact: Erin Buchanan erinb@allhealth.org 202/789-2300

The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/15/2013
Full Webcast/Podcast: C-SPAN Video

Speaker Presentations

Khan Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/15/2013
Benjamin Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/15/2013
Herrmann Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 8/15/2013

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 8/15/2013
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 8/15/2013
Source List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 8/15/2013
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 8/15/2013

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

‘Ready or Not?’ Preparedness Report Shows that Some States are Ill-Equipped to Deal with Emergencies, HuffPost GREEN, 12/19/2012
Sandy Exposed Hospitals’ Lack of Disaster Preparedness, Insurance Journal, 11/6/2012
A Patient’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness, American Health Lawyers Association, 1/1/2011
Georges C. Benjamin Testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, American Public Health Association, 6/6/2012
Sequestering Public Health, What We Stand to Lose, The 2x2 Project, 3/4/2013
Ricin and the Risk of Bioterror: Are We Prepared?, Forbes, 4/17/2013
Public Health Preparedness and Responses in the USA Since 9/11: A National Health Security Imperative, Lancet, 9/1/2011
A National Strategic Plan for Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9/1/2011
Remembering September 11 and Anthrax: Public Health’s Vital Role in National Defense, Health Affairs Blog, 9/9/2011
Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism, Trust for America’s Health, 12/1/2012
Timothy W. Manning Testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, FEMA, 6/6/2012
Disaster Officials Criticize Budget Funding Cut, The Advocate, 6/30/2013
One Year Later: Lessons from Recovery After the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, The Heritage Foundation, 4/26/2012
Prepared for a Disaster and Building Back Better: Terry Cline on Public Health’s Response to Oklahoma Tornados, NewPublicHealth, 6/19/2013
Public Health Preparedness: 2012 State-by-State Update on Laboratory Capabilities and Response Readiness Planning, Centers for Disease Control, 1/1/2012
Recovering from Disaster: NewPublicHealth Q&A with NJ Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd, NewPublicHealth, 7/9/2013
Remembering 9/11 and Anthrax: Public Health’s Vital Role in National Defense, Trust for America’s Health, 9/1/2011
Crisis Standards of Care, Institute of Medicine, 1/1/2009
The Common Ground Preparedness Framework: A Comprehensive Description of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, American Journal of Public Health, 4/1/2012
Responding to the H1N1 Pandemic with Vaccines: Vulnerabilities and Lessons Learned, American Enterprise Institute, 11/1/2009
Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Response, American Hospital Association, 1/1/2012
Lessons from Katrina Boost FEMA’s Sandy Response, NPR, 11/3/2012
New Spaulding hospital learns haunting lessons from Katrina, Boston.com, 5/1/2013

Photos

A prepared community is a resilient one, Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, stated at an August 15 Alliance for Health Reform briefing, Public Health Preparedness, Are We Ready for Disaster?

In 2011, almost 1/4 of local health departments reduced or eliminated a preparedness program due to federal funding cuts, Jack Herrmann, senior advisor and chief of public health preparedness at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, stated at an August 8 Alliance for Health Reform Briefing, Public Health Preparedness: Are We Ready for Disaster?

Dollars need to be returned to health departments, Rosanne Prats, executive director, Emergency Preparedness Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, stated at an August 15 briefing, Public Health Preparedness: Are We Ready for Disaster?

There has been a 40 percent decline in public health funding, Ali Khan, director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated at an August 15 briefing, Public Health Preparedness: Are We Ready for Disaster?

 


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