Blood and Tissue Preparedness and Response
HHS Secretary’s Operation Center
Through the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center, the OASH/OHAIDP Blood Safety liaison provides the federal government with a coordinated focal point for issues related to the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply during preparations, exercises, and activations of the federal emergency infrastructure. The Blood Safety Liaison provides coordination of HHS agencies public health concerns for issues impacting the safety and availability of the Blood Supply throughout the United States, and likewise provides coordination with the private-sector Blood Industry.
Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise
The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) coordinates Federal efforts to enhance chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats and emerging infectious diseases preparedness from a medical countermeasure perspective. The PHEMCE is led by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and includes three primary HHS internal agency partners: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, as well as several interagency partners: the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An OHAIDP staff member serves on the PHEMCE Enterprise Executive Committee as the blood safety liaison for HHS.
AABB Disaster Task Force
The OASH/OHAIDP Blood Safety liaison interacts directly with the private-sector’s AABB Inter-organizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism to provide a coordination of cross public-private sector efforts towards assuring a safe and available blood supply, such as logistic movement of blood products and public messaging to blood donors. This AABB Task Force is constituted with representatives for each major blood collection organization, the American Hospital Association, the American Association of Tissue Banks, and the Department of Defense. Using established Standard Operating Procedures, the AABB Task Force and HHS provide direct coordination about the safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply, including important data collection, logistic requirements, blood product(s) supply/movement, and emergency public messaging.
The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Critical Infrastructure Protection Program
The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Program in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response leads a unique public and private sector partnership known as the Healthcare Sector Coordinating Council in protecting the essential goods, services, and functions of healthcare and public health that, if destroyed or compromised would negatively affect the Nation. Blood products are deemed a Critical Infrastructure Key Resource. An OHAIDP subject matter expert serves as the blood safety liaison to the HHS CIP program.
In the context of a mass burn casualty event, assessments of national preparedness status identified gaps to ensuring an adequate response, including the ability to ensure a robust supply of human skin and alternative products to treat burn patients. To examine these gaps in more depth, a symposium was held in May 2015 sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response/Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the Department of Defense/Medical Research and Materiel Command. The symposium provided a forum for leaders in government, burn care, and industry to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the current challenges to deliver an effective response to mass burn casualty events, and fostered discussions on potential strategies to address key challenges moving forward.