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HHS Delivers the Nation?s First Health Security Strategy

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  • HHS Delivers the Nation?s First Health Security Strategy

    News Release

    <table summary="This table is for formatting only" border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" valign="top" width="50%">FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Thursday, January 7, 2010
    </td><td align="right" valign="top" width="50%">Contact: HHS Press Office
    (202) 690-6343
    HHS Delivers the Nation?s First Health Security Strategy

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released The National Health Security Strategy, the nation?s first comprehensive strategy focused on protecting people?s health during a large-scale emergency. The strategy sets priorities for government and non-government activities over the next four years.
    ?As we?ve learned in the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, responsibility for improving our nation?s ability to address existing and emerging health threats must be broadly shared by everyone ? governments, communities, families, and individuals,? Secretary Sebelius said. ?The National Health Security Strategy is a call to action for each of us so that every community becomes fully prepared and ready to recover quickly after an emergency.?
    National health security means that the nation and its people are prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of health threats or incidents with potentially negative health consequences such as bioterrorism and natural disasters. The strategy provides a framework for actions that will build community resilience, strengthen and sustain health emergency response systems, and fill current gaps.
    ?Events which threaten the health of the people of this nation could very easily compromise our national security. Whether it?s a pandemic or a premeditated chemical attack, our public health system must be prepared to respond to protect the interests of the American people. In order to be prepared to both respond to an incident and to recover, we need a strong national health system with individuals and families ready to handle the health effects of a disaster,? Secretary Sebelius said.
    The National Health Security Strategy and the accompanying interim implementation guide outline 10 objectives to achieve health security:
    1. Foster informed, empowered individuals and communities
    2. Develop and maintain the workforce needed for national health security
    3. Ensure that situational awareness so responders are aware of changes in an emergency situation
    4. Foster integrated, health care delivery systems that can respond to a disaster of any size
    5. Ensure timely and effective communications
    6. Promote an effective countermeasures enterprise, which is a process to develop, buy and distribute medical countermeasures
    7. Ensure prevention or mitigation of environmental and other emerging threats to health
    8. Incorporate post-incident health recovery into planning and response
    9. Work with cross-border and global partners to enhance national, continental, and global health security
    10. Ensure that all systems that support national health security are based upon the best available science, evaluation, and quality improvement methods

    The National Health Security Strategy also highlights specific actions that the nation ? including individuals, communities, non-government organizations, and government agencies ? should take to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from health threats.
    Among the initial actions for the federal government are conducting a review to improve the system for developing and delivering countermeasures ? medications, vaccines, supplies and equipment for health emergencies; coordinating across government and with communities to identify and prioritize the capabilities, research, and investments needed to achieve national health security; and evaluating the impact of these investments.
    Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government agencies, as well as medical, public health and community-based organizations, collaborated to develop the strategy and interim implementation guide. To determine any additional issues and themes the strategy should address, the HHS solicited direct input from non-federal participants during six regional workshops. HHS also worked with the Institute of Medicine to engage the medical community.
    The Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act directed the HHS Secretary to develop the National Health Security Strategy with an accompanying implementation plan by 2009 and to revise the documents every four years. HHS, however, will update the implementation plan every two years to reflect advances in public health and medicine.
    Because of the close relationship between health and national security, the National Health Security Strategy that complements and supports other U.S. strategies and guidelines related to security preparedness, response, and recovery.
    To obtain a copy of the strategy and implementation guide, visit

  • #2
    Re: HHS Delivers the Nation?s First Health Security Strategy

    National Health Security Strategy

    National Health Security Strategy (December, 2009)
    <!-- (link to attached document nhss.pdf) -->
    This document presents the Nation's first National Health Security Strategy (NHSS), which is intended to help galvanize efforts to minimize the health consequences associated with significant health incidents. The NHSS was developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including representatives from local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal government; community-based organizations; private-sector firms; and academia. The statutory authority and requirements for the NHSS are provided under section 2802 of the Public Health Service Act.
    The vision for health security described in the NHSS is built on a foundation of community resilience - healthy individuals, families, and communities with access to health care and with the knowledge and resources to know what to do to care for themselves and others in both routine and emergency situations. Communities help build resilience by implementing policies and practices to ensure the conditions under which people can be healthy, by assuring access to medical care, building social cohesion, supporting healthy behaviors, and creating a culture of preparedness in which bystander response to emergencies is not the exception but the norm.
    Securing our Nation's health is a formidable task and must be a responsibility that is broadly shared among virtually all segments of society. The NHSS reflects current approaches and priorities for improving our Nation's ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a major health incident. However, the NHSS also acknowledges that achieving national health security is a long-term proposition, one that requires a process of continuous learning and improvement, strict accountability, a willingness to engage domestic and global partners, and an on-going commitment to measuring, evaluating, and improving our collective ability to recognize, confront, and resolve existing and emerging threats to our Nation's health. Learn More >>[]


    • #3
      Re: HHS Delivers the Nation?s First Health Security Strategy

      [This is from the pdf at the end of the previous post]

      Our Nation, like all countries, faces many threats with the potential for large-scale health consequences, including disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks. Preparing for and responding to these and other threats requires the commitment of, and cooperation among, all segments of society: government, the
      private sector, local communities, and international partners.

      This document presents the Nation?s first National Health Security Strategy (NHSS), which is intended to help galvanize efforts to minimize the health consequences associated with significant health incidents.1 The NHSS was developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including representatives from local,
      state, territorial, tribal, and federal government; community-based organizations; private-sector firms; and academia. The statutory authority and requirements for the NHSS are provided under section 2802 of the Public Health Service Act.


      7. Ensure prevention or mitigation of environmental and other emerging threats to health
      The increasing mobility and density of human populations increase the odds of disease spread by bringing people more in contact with new environments and with each other. Many common pathogens that come from such environmental sources as food, water, and air undoubtedly account for more of the overall burden of disease than do novel pathogens or, to date, those intentionally spread through bioterrorism. Improved information sharing is needed across the human, animal, and food/agricultural sectors. It is important to develop and use these sources of information to maintain comprehensive situational awareness (as discussed in strategic objective 3) and inform actions to mitigate the effects of both acute and longer-term environmental and other emerging threats to health.32 Information about disease risks, environmental threats (e.g., to water and air quality), and food safety should be widely disseminated.

      The public health system needs to be able to fully leverage the resources of and be fully coordinated with those organizations and individuals responsible for food safety,
      environmental protection, and workplace safety. Improvements are required in monitoring emerging infectious agents, including zoonotic and agricultural disease threats and their effects on health; providing adequate biosafety and biosecurity; conducting surveillance of disease vectors; and mitigating any health impacts of climate change. Efforts are also needed to modernize food, plant, and animal safety systems, including mitigation of vulnerabilities at critical production and processing nodes, and to improve screening procedures and protection of the food supply and food products from intentional and unintentional contamination.

      Enhancements are also needed to protect the environment and the safety and health of responders, including procedures to protect responders and the general workforce from existing and emerging workplace hazards. Procedures for evacuation, shelter in place, and response and recovery should also be improved.

      Roles and Responsibilities

      Achieving national health security is ultimately the shared responsibility of all organizations (both governmental and non-governmental), communities, and individuals. Local, state, territorial, and tribal governments have primary authority for health security but receive support from the federal government before, during, and after incidents. The federal government also helps ensure comparable levels of health security across local jurisdictions by providing funding and guidance, developing performance measures and standards, sponsoring research, and
      providing technical assistance.

      But, as noted previously, a key principle of the NHSS is that other sectors?including the health care, emergency management, law enforcement, private/non governmental, and academic sectors?as well as individuals and families and the international community, all play a vital role in national health security.
      For instance,18

      ? In the private sector, businesses should develop and practice plans for protecting their employees and ensuring business continuity.
      ? Critical infrastructure entities, such as power companies and other utility services, must also be engaged in planning for public health emergencies because of our society?s dependence upon their services.
      ? Academia can contribute to national health security through conducting research to identify best practices for national health security and providing education and training in activities necessary to ensure health security.
      ? Individuals and families play a critical role by developing family emergency plans, stockpiling food and water, and having available a reserve of their regular prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications and first aid supplies .
      ? Non-governmental organizations, including community-based organizations, are an
      important partner in recruiting and supporting volunteers, particularly medical
      professionals in activities such as dispensing countermeasures and providing medical care to casualties as needed.
      ? The international community plays a key role in surveillance, detection, and communication of health security threats to their own nations, which may also pose a threat to our Nation.

      Each of these actors is critical in ensuring the Nation?s health security. Specific roles and responsibilities of each sector will be outlined in greater detail in the forthcoming
      Implementation Plan.[B]