Category Archives: preparedness

2017 Preparedness Summit: A Must for Public Health Preparedness Professionals

By Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, NACCHO President and Chief Public Health Officer for the Cambridge Public Health Department (MA)

Our nation’s resilience—how we collectively adapt in the face of adversity—often depends on the strength of individual communities and their ability to respond to and recover from emergencies. Public health preparedness, one of NACCHO’s signature program areas, is a year-round priority. NACCHO’s Preparedness staff collectively provide local health departments (LHDs) and their emergency management partners with resources, tools, and support to ensure their jurisdictions are protected against any risk to community health or safety. Continue reading

The Disaster Divide: Opportunities for Rebuilding Communities

By Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

Think back to the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina. Those tragic images of high waters and despair. Broken levees. Survivors desperately searching to find missing relatives while struggling to reach higher ground. Victims stranded on rooftops waiting to be airlifted to safety. The chaotic overcrowding of temporary shelters like the Superdome in Louisiana.

Now think about the more recent Ebola virus threat. Hospital workers donning protective spacesuits. Government-imposed travel restrictions and citizens forced into home quarantine. Lacking even basic information, nearly every community across the globe feared the deadly contagion. Worse yet was the situation at the epicenter of the epidemic in Central West Africa, where thousands of infected and dying people were overwhelming small hospitals ill-equipped to handle the surge. Continue reading

A Look Back: The Best of NACCHO Preparedness

prep-highlights

By Anastasia Sonneman, NACCHO Communications Specialist

This story originally ran on NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief.

The year 2016 brought a whole new meaning to the importance of public health emergency preparedness. From the onset of Zika virus disease to international acts of violence related to terrorism, to the worst global migrant crisis since World War II, NACCHO has worked diligently in collaboration with many of its members and partners to enhance the capacity of local health departments (LHDs) to protect and increase the resiliency of their communities. As we enter the new year, many of NACCHO’s preparedness-related projects can still serve as a valuable resource to local preparedness staff. With this in mind, the NACCHO Preparedness team compiled the following list, highlighting a selection of the year’s featured programs, events, resources, and tools. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Preparedness Month 2016: Raising Local Awareness this September and Beyond

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

September marks National Preparedness Month, a golden opportunity for local health department (LHD) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit leaders, staff, and volunteers to highlight the importance of public health preparedness. Whether it is a natural disaster, like the current flooding in New Orleans, or a sudden disease outbreak, like the Zika virus, raising awareness about preparedness, its various components, and the role of LHDs, MRC Units, other agencies, and community members is crucial to ensuring the health and safety of our nation. LHDs and MRC Units—typically leading the charge in the wake of a public health emergency—stand to particularly benefit in two big ways by celebrating Preparedness Month. First, they can pique community interest in emergency planning and response activities in September, and ultimately inspire residents to be vigilant and engaged in preparedness efforts throughout the year.

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Hurricane Preparedness Week: It Only Takes One

By Dr. Swannie Jett, DrPH, MSc, NACCHO President and Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County

It only takes one storm to change your community. Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 15–21, is an opportunity to encourage preparedness on the part of individuals, groups, and organizations in our communities. Hurricanes and tropical storms cause high winds, flooding, and storm surges, which can have great effects on public health. Disease outbreaks, contaminated water, mold, and mildew are just a few of the issues local health departments (LHDs) must be ready to tackle in the wake of a storm. Continue reading

Congress to Decide Funding for Public Health Emergencies

The following article was originally published in Domestic Preparedness. View the original article here.

lamar-hasbrouck-headshot-2015By Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

Federal spending on public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery has been falling since 2005, and Congress is now considering how much to spend in the 2016 fiscal year. The final spending figure will play a key role in determining how well the American people are protected from disease, injury, and death in times of emergency. Continue reading