Preparedness Pulsepoints | Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Sanjana Ravi, MPH, Editor
February 27, 2018
Eric Toner, Monica Schoch-Spana, Richard Waldhorn, Matthew Shearer, Tom Inglesby

The health sector in the United States would be far better positioned to manage medical care needs during emergencies of any scale by empowering existing healthcare coalitions to connect community resilience efforts with a network of hospitals equipped to handle disasters, according to a new report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Trump Vs. "Disease X." What's really worrying right now is that we're not ready for the "next time." Current proposals from the Trump White House would slash funding for foreign aid and US public health agencies. And that is expected to have a ripple effect around the world.   (Vox, 2/26/18)
Responding to Emergencies One Behavior at a Time. Dr. Stephen Redd (CDC/OPHPR) explains why public health practitioners must think about interventions in terms of the behaviors they are asking people to adopt, stop or continue. (CDC, 2/26/18)
CDC Requests Funds to Build New Maximum-Security Laboratory. CDC is asking Congress for money for a new building to house the laboratories that work on the deadliest pathogens known to humankind. The existing building, which went into service in 2005, will need to be replaced by 2023 or so to avoid major disruptions in the work, senior agency staff told STAT. (STAT News, 2/23/18)
Tribal Public Health Capacity Building and Quality Improvement Umbrella Cooperative Agreement Department of Health and Human Services. The intent of this program is to assist in public health infrastructure improvement; workforce development; tribal data and information systems enhancement, including surveillance; and development and adaptation of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions to increase the long-term sustainability of the collective tribal public health system.  (, 2/23/18)
US Rep. Peters Cites Accurate Threat Assessments as National Biodefense Necessity. Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA), whose 52nd District in San Diego County encompasses a large military presence that partners in strategic national defense, thinks it's important the United States find smart solutions to biothreats that include preparedness for any catastrophic biological event, whether man-made, accidental or naturally occurring. (Homeland Preparedness News, 2/22/18)
DARPA Names Researchers Working to Halt Outbreaks in 60 Days or Less. To address the growing threat from infectious diseases as well as to properly equip DoD Service members who regularly deploy worldwide to provide assistance in all manner of high-risk environments, DARPA launched the Pandemic Prevention Platform program (P3). The P3 program, which began in 2017, seeks to halt the spread of any infectious disease outbreak before it can escalate into a pandemic. (DARPA, 2/22/18)
FDA Oversees Destruction and Recall of Kratom Products; And Reiterates its Concerns on Risks Associated with this Opioid. Based on the scientific evidence of the serious risks associated with the use of kratom, in the interest of public health, the FDA encourages all companies currently involved in the sale of products containing kratom intended for human consumption to take similar steps to take their products off the market and submit any necessary evidence, as appropriate, to the FDA to evaluate them based on the applicable regulatory pathway.  (FDA, 2/21/18)

Aging and Disability Task Force: An Access and Functional Needs Approach to Addressing the Unmet Disaster Needs Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Obtaining situational analysis was critically important to highlighting programmatic impacts to older adults and people with disabilities. As a first step, the Taskforce facilitated effective communication and information sharing with the American Red Cross, federal civil rights attorneys, FEMA's Office of Disability and Integration Coordination, and local networks that improve the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. (ASPR, 2/21/18)
US Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering Specialists. US Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering specialists provide operational health risk assessment expertise to enhance a commander's decision making and health service support capabilities. This is achieved by identifying health hazards, potential risks and appropriate control measure for health situations. (Global Biodefense, 2/20/18)
Senate Bill Would Jump-Start Universal Flu Vaccine Efforts. As the nation grapples with a long and unrelenting flu season rivaling by some measures the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, a group of US senators last week unveiled a proposal to invest $1 billion in research over the next 5 years to create a universal flu vaccine that would provide lifetime protection against a range of influenza strains. (CIDRAP, 2/19/18)

Use of Influenza Risk Assessment Tool for Prepandemic Preparedness. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began to develop an Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) to methodically capture and assess information relating to influenza A viruses not currently circulating among humans. The IRAT uses a multiattribute, additive model to generate a summary risk score for each virus. (CDC, 2/15/18)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Next Generation 911: National 911 Program Could Strengthen Efforts to Assist States. GAO was asked to review NG911 implementation nationwide. This report examines: (1) state and local progress and challenges in implementing NG911 and (2) federal actions to address challenges and planned next steps. (GAO, 2/23/18)
DHS Releases First Responder Technology Guide for Industry. The handbook that has been produced by the Science & Technology Directorate outlines a 'plug and play' standards-based environment for commercially based technologies that will assist first responders. Its aim is to reduce barriers to entry to the first responder technology market, encouraging entrepreneurial companies while also saving costs and increasing innovation for public enforcement agencies. (Homeland Security Today, 2/23/18)
DARPA Plans to Build Sensors, Networks to Detect CBRNE Threats in Real Time. DARPA seeks to expand the SIGMA program, which will be referred to as SIGMA+. Plans call for sensors and networks to be developed to detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruction in small quantities and forms that are difficult to detect. (Homeland Preparedness News, 2/22/18)
Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Scientists Know How You'll Respond to Nuclear War - and They Have a Plan. That knowledge isn't simply theoretical: The Department of Defense is using Barrett's simulations-projecting the behavior of survivors in the 36 hours post-disaster-to form emergency response strategies they hope will make the best of the worst possible situation. (Wired, 2/13/18)
Radiation Epidemiology - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health/Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, Emergency Management, Radiation and Chemical Branch presents Radiation  Epidemiology - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 1-2 p.m., ET.  (NACCHO, 2/18)
Science & Technology Policy
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Developing "Collaborative Autonomy" Network. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are currently exploring the potential use of "collaborative autonomy" to creates a network of autonomous machines and humans that could be used by first responders. (Homeland Preparedness News, 2/22/18)
Defense Science and Technology Funding. Defense science and technology (Defense S&T) is a term that describes a subset of Department of
Defense (DOD) research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities. The Defense S&T budget is the aggregate of funding provided for the three earliest stages of DOD RDT&E: basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development. (Congressional Research Service, 2/21/18)
This Week's Hearings
Full Committee Hearing to Examine Cybersecurity in our Nation's Critical Energy Infrastructure. US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. 3/1/18, 10 AM. Dirksen 366. More


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