LHD Contributions to the National Health Security are Invaluable and Deserve Recognition

nhsBy Stephen Maheux, Senior Program Analyst, NACCHO

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief

National health security is a state in which the nation and its people are prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of incidents with health consequences. Local health department’s (LHDs) day-to-day operations impact National Health Security across the country on a regular basis. Every time a staff member run a vaccination clinic or spearheads a disease prevention campaign, these efforts also improve health security. Every time an LHD helps track a disease outbreak or connect people with personal health services, like preventive or health promotion services, the agency gives health security a direct boost. Every time LHD staff plan how to coordinate the delivery of drugs, supplies and provisions to disaster survivors and populations at risk or push a colleague to keep his or her knowledge and skills up-to-date, they are also advancing our nation’s health security.

Everything LHDs do is meant to improve the health of people in their community, and healthier people are more likely to survive a disaster and bounce back faster. That’s what national health security is all about: the nation and its people being prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of incidents with negative health consequences.

National Health Security Awards Program Application Focus Categories

NACCHO and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) created the National Health Security Award to recognize the hard work and dedication of local health departments and the contributions they make to improving health security in their communities. NACCHO and ASPR designed these awards as a way to

Last year’s recipients of the National Health Security Award.

Last year’s recipients of the National Health Security Award.

highlight LHD projects making a difference at the local level across the country. More specifically, the NHSS Award program aims to spotlight local public health efforts in these five application categories, listed below, which are based on the NHSS Strategic Objectives. While, the selection committee will select one application to honor in each of the five award categories, listed below, LHDs are invited to submit up to one application per each category.

  • Build and sustain healthy, resilient communities. LHDs work tirelessly to improve the health and resilience of their communities. What activity does your LHD do that exemplifies this goal?
  • Enhance the national capability to produce and effectively use both medical countermeasures and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Medical Countermeasure capabilities are a staple of any public health preparedness program. What innovative or interesting activities does your LHD do to ensure the health and safety of your population in the face of biological and/or chemical threats?
  • Ensure comprehensive health situational awareness to support decision-making before incidents and during response and recovery operations. Knowledge is power. With the emergence of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, early detection can make all the difference. What is your LHD doing to identify and respond to these types of threats?
  • Enhance the integration and effectiveness of the public health, healthcare, and emergency management systems. Recent public health emergency responses have shown the importance of a strong network of partners. When everyone is on the same page, responses are more effective and more efficient. What does your LHD do to build and strengthen partnerships with community partners?
  • Strengthen global health security. As our world becomes more connected, we need to anticipate and plan for threats to global health. While these threats are considered “global”, many of the mitigation and response activities still take place at the local level. What is your LHD doing to better prepare your community against infectious disease and public health threats that could arrive from outside the U.S.?

National Health Security Awards Program Award Recipient Section and Recognition

One winning submission will be selected for each of the above listed categories. Awardees will be honored for their invaluable contributions and commitment to National Health Security at the 2017 NACCHO Annual Conference. FREE travel, accommodations, and waived registration to the conference will be provided to all awardees. Each recipient will also be profiled in the NACCHO Preparedness Brief blog and other communication channels.

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Important Note: While every section does not require applicants to make the connection between the project/program and national health security, reviewers have been instructed to evaluate entire applications for how completely this connection is made. The most successful submissions will consistently demonstrate strong national health security themes throughout the entire application. LHDs are invited to submit one application per category, but will only be eligible to win one award. Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2016. Please use this link to fill out your application today!