Monitoring USG action on readiness and response
Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Editors: Diane Meyer, RN, MPH; Lane Warmbrod, MS, MPH;
Amanda Kobokovich, MPH
New from The Center for Health Security
In this report, the researchers describe major scientific and policy issues related to vaccine platforms and how they are understood in government, academia, and industry. Read more.
April 30, 2019
Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 US Sites, 2015–2018. The incidence of foodborne infections has remained largely unchanged. Clinical laboratories are increasingly using culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) to detect enteric infections. CIDTs benefit public health surveillance by identifying pathogens not routinely detected by previous methods but complicate data interpretation. (CDC MMWR, 4/26/19)
USDA Reaffirms Science-Based Decision Making at G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists Meeting.Two of the US Department of Agriculture’s top scientists today reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to science-based decision-making at the G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) meeting held this week in Tokyo. (USDA, 4/26/19)
Pentagon Showcases Its Organic Laboratories. The Defense Department’s organic laboratories develop weapons, medical technology and other equipment. Hundreds had exhibit booths set up in the Pentagon courtyard as part of its biennial DOD Lab Day today. (DOD, 4/25/19)
Rapid Response Teams Mark 10 Years of Collaboration on Public Health Emergencies. Responding to health emergencies, such as the current multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Carrau linked to pre-cut melons, has long been a top priority at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state partners to trace the specific source of these melons and collect samples for laboratory analysis.  (FDA, 4/25/19)
The VA MISSION Act — Creating a Center for Innovation within the VA. On June 6, 2018, the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act was signed into law with the goal of improving care for the more than 9 million veterans served by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. The bill dedicates $50 million per year to a VA Center for Innovation for Care and Payment that will “develop innovative approaches to testing payment and service delivery models in order to reduce expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care” provided by the VA. (NEJM, 4/25/19)
HHS Secretary Azar Statement on Measles Outbreaks and the Importance of Vaccines. HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement regarding the current measles outbreaks around the United States. (HHS, 4/24/19)
Strengthening Public Health Capacity and Guidelines to prevent, detect and control the spread of epidemic prone infectious diseases through Cooperation and Support from World Health Organization (WHO).  CDC program managers, WHO administrators, and national health authorities agree that the activities funded under the current agreement have supported the purposes of the MOU, strengthened overall infectious disease surveillance and response, improved national public health infrastructure, and provided critical technical assistance in support of global health security. This FOA serves to renew and extend this mutually beneficial partnership.  (, 4/24/19)
CMS Advances Agenda to Re-think Rural Health and Unleash Medical Innovation. Today, the Trump Administration proposed changes that build on the progress made over the last two years and further the agency’s priority to transform the healthcare delivery system through competition and innovation while providing patients with better value and results. (CMS, 4/23/19)
Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
DOD Needs to Address Substantial Supply Chain Challenges. DOD needs to address supply chain issues with the F-35 advanced fighter jet, the country's most expensive weapons system with projected operating costs of more than $1 trillion. (GAO, 4/25/19)
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program. In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act, known as the SAFER Act, was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). SAFER is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (FAS, 4/25/19)
Actions Needed to Improve the Use of Post-Disaster Contracts to Support Response and Recovery. The 2017 disaster season was unlike anything the US had experienced: 15% of the population was affected by 3 back-to-back hurricanes and catastrophic wildfires. The law requires, where practical, that federal agencies give preference to local businesses in disaster areas for the contracts used to clean up and rebuild. The idea is to jumpstart the local economy. Among other things, we reviewed contracts 4 agencies used to respond the disasters. We found officials didn't always know how they should give local businesses preference. (GAO, 4/24/19)
Intelligence Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Evaluation (IPPBE) Process. The Intelligence Community (IC) uses the Intelligence Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Evaluation (IPPBE) process to identify requirements and allocate resources that “shape and sustain” IC capabilities through development and execution of the National Intelligence Program (NIP) budget. (FAS, 4/24/19)
Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
US Nuclear-Weapons Agency Offers Lifeline to Elite Science-Advisory Group. The elite advisory panel known as JASON, which has provided scientific and technical advice to the US government for decades, has been given a reprieve — days before it was set to shut down. (Nature, 4/26/19)
US Nuclear Umbrella Extends to Allies, Partners, Defense Official Says. Allies and partners around the world should and do take comfort in the fact that the US has both the will and the means to use its nuclear weapons, if necessary, to protect them from aggression, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy said here today. (DOD, 4/24/19)
Science & Technology Policy
International Team Gains NIH Grant for Mass Test of Anti-Malaria Drug. The anti-malaria drug primaquine is the focus of an upcoming, mass treatment routine in Thailand and Myanmar in an effort to prevent relapses of the disease. A grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes that possible. (Homeland Preparedness News, 4/26/19)
Catalyst Renders Nerve Agents Harmless. A team of scientists including researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has studied a catalyst that decomposes nerve agents, eliminating their harmful and lethal effects.  (Brookhaven National Laboratory, 4/22/19)
This Week's Hearings
Full Committee Hearing on US Leadership in Nuclear Energy and to Receive Testimony on NELA. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. 4/30/2019, 10:00 am. Dirksen Senate Office Building, 366. More
UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. 4/30/2019, 2:00 pm. Rayburn House Building, 2200. More
Strengthening the Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Subcommittee on Security. 4/30/2019, 2:30 pm. Dirksen Senate Office Building, 562. More