Preparedness Pulsepoints | Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Sanjana Ravi, MPH, Editor
April 3, 2018
Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
NEWS
In Emotional Speech, CDC's New Leader Vows to Uphold Science. Robert Redfield Jr., the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave a deeply personal agency-wide address Thursday in which he repeatedly underscored the importance of science and data and said the CDC's most critical public health mission is to protect Americans "from that which we don't expect."  (Washington Post, 3/29/18)
BLOG
Returning to Readiness: Strengthening Psychological Resilience by Building Behavioral Health Coalitions. For years, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has used behavioral health coalitions to facilitate communication across provider groups; coordinate health care efforts; help identify existing and emergent needs; eliminate duplication of services; and launch community-wide initiatives in targeted areas. (ASPR, 3/29/18)
PRESS RELEASE
US Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Rise; Increase Fueled by Synthetic Opioids. Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all levels of urbanization. (CDC, 3/29/18)

BLOG
Arming Citizen Scientists With an App to Identify Zika Carriers. Funded by NASA, the app, called GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper, allows anyone with a smartphone to identify potential mosquito breeding sites and count samples of mosquito larvae. (Department of State, 3/29/18)
REPORT
Ebola Recovery: USAID has Initiated or Completed Most Projects, but a Complete Project Inventory is Still Needed for Evaluating its Efforts. The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa disrupted the region's health systems, job markets, and food supplies. Congress appropriated funds to USAID and State for Ebola response and preparedness. USAID and, to a lesser extent, State used some funds for Ebola recovery projects. We reported on the status of USAID's recovery projects. USAID had completed 62 of its 131 projects, as of September 2017.  (GAO, 3/28/18)
NEWS
Bioterrorism Advisor Visits Nebraska Medicine. Robert Kadlec, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health & Human Services, made a visit to Nebraska Medicine's Biocontainment Unit Tuesday morning and called the facility a "national treasure."  (3 News Now, 3/28/18)
BLOG
FDA Blood Supply and Demand Simulation Model Could Help Nation Prepare for Emergencies. FDA developed a blood supply model that estimates the amount of blood available in the system during both routine conditions and emergencies. This model is designed to help public health officials effectively plan strategies that will minimize any disruption of the blood supply should blood collection efforts be reduced as a result of an emergency. (FDA, 3/27/18)

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
Augmenting Capacity for Humanitarian Emergencies of Infectious Diseases. The overall scope, goal of the program(s) to be funded under the award(s) resulting from this APS includes: establishing standby capacity by strengthening and augmenting preparedness and readiness of and between potential responders from national and/or international NGOs organizations, PIOs, academic and private institutions, improving technical capacity and coordination for an integrated, effective multi-sectoral response to an infectious disease outbreak that becomes humanitarian emergency. (Grants.gov, 3/27/18)
NEWS
Protecting Americans Includes Keeping First Responders Safe, Says ASPR's Kadlec. Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), last week told Homeland Preparedness News that the Office of the ASPR is "driving multiple efforts to protect Americans from 21st century health security threats," which could include the potential deployment of bio-weapons like intentionally released infectious diseases or some other bacteria, virus or toxin, or the release of chemical weapons such as chlorine or mustard gas. (Homeland Preparedness News, 3/27/18)
BLOG
Flood Safety Tips. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home. (CDC, 3/26/18)
BLOG
Assessing Community Needs in Real-Time. What if there was a way to evaluate the needs of a community after a natural disaster? Or understand a community's attitudes and beliefs about a specific public health behavior? Enter CASPER: Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, a tool for health departments and public health professionals to assess community needs in real-time. (CDC, 3/26/18)
PRESS RELEASE
Senator Markey Secures Funding in Omnibus Budget for His Call for a Universal Flu Vaccine. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today applauded inclusion of $100 million towards the development of a universal flu vaccine in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill. The funding for the National Institutes of Health will vastly expand upon the estimated $64 million that the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases spent on universal influenza vaccine research in fiscal year 2017. (Senator Ed Markey, 3/23/18)

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
 Epidemic Intelligence Service. EIS officers are selected from among highly qualified applicants drawn to public health service and interested in practicing applied epidemiology. EIS officers may be assigned to work in the areas of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, injury prevention, environmental health, or occupational health, either at CDC, or at another federal agency, state, or local health department. The application period for the Class of 2019 will be open Monday, April 16, 2018.   (CDC, 3/22/18)
WEBINAR
Healthy People 2020 Progress Review Webinar: Strong Organizations and Resilient Communities. Preparedness requires strengthening national health security by building community capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from public health threats. The webinar will take place on April 10, 2018, 12:30 PM EST. Registration is required. (Healthy People 2020, 3/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
NEWS
Early Warning Tools Needed for Chem-Bio Defense. The US military is in need of new tools that can provide early warning for chemical and biological contamination on the battlefield and connect to commanders' networks, one defense official said. Integrated early warning is "probably our No. 1 priority," said Ronald Hann, director of the chemical and biological technologies department at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. "If we can know where an attack is at, we can avoid it, we can make sure people are protected."  (National Defense Magazine, 3/30/18)
NEWS
Chem-Bio Defense Program Eases Path for Industry. The joint program executive office for chemical and biological defense and the joint project manager for medical countermeasure systems are transforming ways of doing business with industry partners in order to rapidly develop and field medical countermeasures to support US service-members around the world.  (National Defense Magazine, 3/30/18)
BLOG
The Nation's Biodefense. Five federal agencies-the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Defense, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency-play unique and key roles in helping to advance knowledge about biological threats. They use intelligence gathering, scientific research, and analysis to help identify and prioritize the most dangerous biological threats and guide biodefense investments. (GAO, 3/29/18)
NEWS
DHS, EPA Recap Four-Year Project to Improve Response to Bioterrorism Subway Attacks. Conducted by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the EPA's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Consequence Management Advisory Division, the project aimed to determine how microbes that cause diseases spread through subway systems, and how to best eradicate them. (Homeland Preparedness News, 3/29/18)
NEWS
US Army Reserve Soldiers Support Airmen in CBRN Exercise. Soldiers from the 773rd Civil Support Team, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, assisted the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Europe in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense training exercise in Lakenheath, United Kingdom, March 6 to 9. (DVIDS, 3/26/18)
NEWS
Threat from Cyber Hackers is Growing, US Grid Regulator Says. Hackers increasingly threaten sites in the US ranging from nuclear power plants to water processing systems, according Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, adding his voice to warnings from several agencies and officials in recent weeks.  (Bloomberg, 3/23/18)
REPORT
NERC Standards for Bulk Power Physical Security: Is the Grid More Secure? A 2013 rifle attack on a critical electric power substation in Metcalf, CA, marked a turning point for the US electric power sector. The attack prompted utilities across the country to reevaluate and restructure their physical security programs. (Congressional Research Service, 3/19/18)
Science & Technology Policy
NEWS
The USDA Won't Regulate Genetically Edited Plants. The US Department of Agriculture has zero plans to regulate plants altered with gene-editing technologies, according to the agency's Secretary Sonny Perdue. It won't prevent the release of crops created using CRISPR, for instance, so long as the final product is something that could've been developed through traditional breeding techniques and it's not a plant pest or achieved with the help of plant pests. (Engadget, 3/30/18)

NEWS
Sugar-Coated Nanosheets Developed to Selectively Target Pathogens. Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a process for creating ultrathin, self-assembling sheets of synthetic materials that can function like designer flypaper in selectively binding with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. The new platform could potentially be used to inactivate or detect pathogens. (Science Daily, 3/29/18)
NEWS
NIH Moves to Punish Researchers Who Violate Confidentiality in Proposal Reviews. Late last year, NIH officials disclosed that they had discovered that someone involved in the proposal review process had violated confidentiality rules designed to protect its integrity. As a result, the agency announced in December 2017 that it would re-review dozens of applications that might have been compromised. (Science, 3/29/18)
This Week's Hearings
Hawai'i False Missile Alert: What Happened and What Should We Do Next? US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 4/5/2018, 10 AM. East-West Center, Keoni Auditorium, Honolulu, HI. More
 

 

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