Over the past decade, HHS has improved the Nation’s ability to address the public health and medical consequences of large-scale emergencies, including behavioral health impacts on communities and responders. Nonetheless, many challenges remain. HHS has developed a National Health Security Strategy to guide efforts to address the current gaps in national, state, local, and tribal preparedness and response capabilities as well as to build and foster more resilient communities and individuals. HHS has identified key strategic areas within the National Health Security Strategy to improve its ability to prepare and protect Americans in public health emergencies.
- Foster Informed, Empowered Individuals and Communities
HHS will promote community empowerment and support efforts to develop community plans; community capabilities to shelter, sustain themselves, and provide medical and other care; and active community engagement in local decisionmaking.
- Develop and Maintain the Workforce Needed for National Health Security
HHS will promote efforts to develop a strong, well-trained workforce able to mount an effective response, including support for improvements in preparedness-related education, additional hiring of qualified staff, and preregistration of competent volunteers.
- Ensure Situational Awareness
HHS will improve the Nation’s ability to understand and use information related to health threats as well as health system and response resources. HHS will also improve information sharing across Federal, state, and local entities to create a common picture of the incident and operating environment.
- Foster Integrated, Scalable Health Care Delivery Systems
HHS will work to improve the ability of the health care system to expand its efforts in mass care situations while ensuring provision of the highest standard of care possible for the greatest number of patients. HHS will work to identify and develop strategies to meet emergency response for scarce resources (e.g. blood, cellular products, and tissues) or items that can not be stockpiled. HHS will also work to increase public understanding and use of self-triage and self-care tools that reduce health care system demands.
- Ensure Timely and Effective Communications
HHS will work to ensure secure, sustainable, and redundant systems for sharing of information both among responders at all levels of government and between responders and the public. HHS will strive to improve communications, especially with respect to underserved populations, such as those with limited English proficiency, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from diverse cultural origins, across all sectors, from government emergency response systems to private sector and community-based organizations.
- Promote an Effective System for Developing, Manufacturing, and Dispensing Drugs, Devices, and Medical Supplies for Use in Response to a Public Health Emergency
HHS will work toward integrating efforts for countermeasure research, manufacturing, dispensing, and safety and effectiveness tracking. HHS will foster stronger engagement and participation with all stakeholders and will prioritize investments with the greatest potential to improve national health security, prevent or limit the spread of disease, and limit the clinical impact of a health incident.
- Ensure Prevention or Reduction of Environmental and Other Emerging Threats to Health
HHS will work to reduce the emerging threats from common pathogens in our food, water, biologicals (blood, organs, tissue and vaccines), and air through improved information sharing, surveillance, and coordinated action across human, animal, and food and agricultural agencies and sectors.
- Incorporate Post-Incident Health Recovery into Planning and Response
HHS will work to ensure that recovery is included in planning at all levels and will promote the goal of ensuring that individuals and communities can recover from an incident through, at a minimum, the restoration of services, providers, facilities, and infrastructure.
Work with Cross-Border and Global Partners to Enhance National, Continental, and Global Health Security
HHS, acting in concert with other U.S. Government agencies, will work closely with global partners to address common threats around the world, enhance national capacities to detect and respond to these threats, and learn from each other’s experiences.
- Ensure that All Systems that Support National Health Security Are Based Upon the Best Available Science, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement Methods
HHS will develop and implement a research and evaluation agenda to support identification of empirical standards, policy, and guidance to increase the knowledge base for preparedness, response, and recovery.