In a report just released by our Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force, we believe that the legacy missions of public health and emergency management must be synchronized for disaster preparedness and response efforts to be effective. To achieve this goal, stakeholders within these fields must work together to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing manmade and natural disasters. The report, “Public Health and Emergency Management: Challenges and Opportunities,” was released in conjunction with an event that featured Edward Gabriel (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS), Brian Kamoie (Senior Director for Preparedness Policy at the White House), and Richard Serino (Deputy Administrator at FEMA) as panelists.
Events of the past decade—including 9/11, the anthrax attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic—have shown that public health and emergency management efforts are interconnected and often overlap in time of crisis. It is thus important to recognize that the success of these missions—whether considered individually or jointly—depends on the continued support of policymakers.
These concepts are not new, and much progress has been made over the past decade. Yet, opportunities for improved collaboration remain. The report highlights remaining gaps and makes policy recommendations to enhance the nation’s resilience for man-made and natural disasters.