PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS: MOBILIZING STATE BY STATE
Overview of ASPR Preparedness Activities
CDC works under the strategic leadership of ASPR, the principal advisor to HHS on issues related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies that affect the civilian population. ASPR coordinates and integrates public health emergency preparedness activities among federal, state, and local officials. ASPR has also been a lead partner in the development of a U.S. government-wide pandemic influenza strategic plan and coordinated subsidies for states to stockpile antiviral drugs to help respond in case of an influenza pandemic. The planning, coordination, and operational functions of ASPR are conducted by four offices:
Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
BARDA is responsible for providing coordination and expert advice regarding the development and procurement of public health medical countermeasures, or pharmaceuticals (e.g., vaccines, antitoxins, and preventive and therapeutic drugs) that protect against health threats during emergencies. Through the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise—an interagency effort that also includes CDC, FDA, and the National Institutes of Health—BARDA coordinates efforts to define and prioritize requirements for public health emergency medical countermeasures, product development and procurement, and related research. BARDA is also responsible for setting strategies for the deployment and use of medical countermeasures stored in the SNS.
Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO)
OPEO is responsible for developing operational plans, analytical products, and training exercises to ensure the preparedness of ASPR, HHS, the federal government, and the public to respond to public health and medical threats and emergencies, both domestically and internationally. OPEO is also responsible for ensuring that ASPR has the systems, logistical support, and procedures necessary to coordinate HHS operational response to acts of terrorism and other public health and medical threats and emergencies. The following programs are administered within OPEO:
- The Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) helps hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Current program priority areas include interoperable communication systems, bed tracking, personnel management, fatality management planning and hospital evacuation planning. During the past 5 years, HPP funds have also improved bed and personnel surge capacity, decontamination capabilities, isolation capacity, pharmaceutical supplies, training, education, drills, and exercises. Hospitals, outpatient facilities, health centers, poison control centers, emergency medical services, and other healthcare partners work with the appropriate state or local health departments to acquire funding and develop healthcare system preparedness through this program. Funding is distributed directly to the health department of the state or political subdivision of a state (i.e., cities and counties).
- The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) is a federally coordinated system that augments the nation’s medical response capability. The overall purpose of the NDMS is to establish a single integrated national medical response capability for assisting state and local authorities in dealing with the medical impacts of major peacetime disasters and to provide Overview of ASPR Preparedness Activities support to the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical systems in caring for casualties evacuated back to the U.S. from overseas armed conventional conflicts.
- The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Critical Infrastructure Protection Program leads a unique public and private sector partnership in protecting the essential goods, services, and functions of healthcare and public health that, if destroyed or compromised, would negatively affect the nation’s ability to respond to emergencies and care for its citizens.
Office of Medicine, Science, and Public Health (OMSPH)
OMSPH is responsible for providing expert medical, scientific, and public health advice on domestic and international medical preparedness policies, programs, initiatives, and activities. OMSPH serves as the ASPR liaison to health and science professional organizations for domestic and international issues.
Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (OPSP)
OPSP is responsible for policy formulation and coordination for preparedness and response strategic planning. In coordination with other ASPR and HHS offices, OPSP analyzes proposed policies and presidential directives and regulations, and develops short- and long-term policy and strategic objectives.
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