The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded more than $613 million to strengthen all-hazards emergency preparedness in the 50 states, four large metropolitan areas, and eight U.S. territories and Pacific island areas.
HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) administers the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement, which supports state, local, and territorial health departments in demonstrating measurable and sustainable progress toward achieving 15 public health preparedness capabilities and other activities that promote safer and more resilient communities.
"State and local public health departments have made tremendous advances in public health preparedness and response since the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The terrorist attacks highlighted the importance of health security and the need to expand the federal governments investments in state and local public health preparedness," says Ali S. Khan, MD, the director of CDCs Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, which oversees the PHEP cooperative agreement. "These funds work to secure the nation from all public health threats."
CDCs recent state preparedness report indicates that much progress has been made to build and strengthen national public health preparedness and response capabilities in laboratory testing capacities and state capacities to receive, distribute, and dispense medical assets from CDCs Strategic National Stockpile and other sources.
CDCs new PHEP cooperative agreement focuses on advancing public health preparedness for public health laboratory testing, public health surveillance and epidemiological investigation, community preparedness, medical countermeasure dispensing, responder safety and health, emergency operations coordination, emergency public information and warning, and other capabilities.
The PHEP cooperative agreement also addresses lessons learned during the recent large-scale incidents like the H1N1 influenza pandemic response, by encouraging health departments to develop and implement strategies for effective state and local emergency response. In addition, the cooperative agreement provides funding to 10 urban areas as a one-year pilot program for higher population areas to develop public health, medical, mental/behavioral risk assessments and risk mitigation strategies.
Other funding for state and local medical preparedness activities was released in July by HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR awarded more than $352 in Hospital Preparedness Program grants to support preparedness capabilities, including medical surge, for hospitals and healthcare facilities.