Introduction to the Public Health Preparedness Capabilities (101)
One of the nation’s key preparedness challenges has been determining appropriate state and local public health preparedness priorities. To assist state and local public health departments in their strategic planning, CDC developed 15 capabilities to serve as national public health preparedness standards. CDC’s Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning now provides a guide that state and local jurisdictions can use to better organize their work, plan their priorities, and decide which capabilities they have the resources to build or sustain. The capabilities also ensure that federal preparedness funds are directed to priority areas within individual jurisdictions. In this presentation, Introduction to the Public Health Preparedness Capabilities (101), we will discuss how – and why – the capabilities were developed and detail some of the benefits of this capabilities-based approach. My name is Christine Kosmos, I’m the Division Director for the Division of State and Local Readiness here at CDC. We’re the agency that administers the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement to our 62 awardees. Our division is located within the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, and we provide training and technical assistance, as well as funding to our 62 awardees around the country. First a little bit of a history lesson: in 1999 CDC awarded the first cooperative agreements to a select few number of our awardees to really focus on bioterrorism preparedness. And after 911 and those events, and especially after the anthrax attacks, there really was much more appreciation for the role of public health in emergency preparedness and response, and so Congress awarded funding to 62 awardees which obviously included the 50 states, the Territories, as well as four directly funded cities, for bioterrorism preparedness and response, again. And then after Hurricane Katrina, there was much more of an understanding of the role of public health, and how it pertains more to an all-hazard response. And so over the years, it really has evolved from more of a bioterrorism focus to more of an all-hazards preparedness and response. We want to talk a little bit about the reasons for why we’re moving to a more capabilities-based approach. And for those of you that have been around for a while, you will know that in the past there have been many competing priorities and it led to some difficulty in planning and some confusion. And so what we really wanted to do was better define that, and give a much better way for state and local public health to plan their activities and prioritize their investments. In addition to giving state and local public health a much clearer idea on where to invest their resources we also really wanted to do a better job of describing how public health works with other sectors. How do we work with the healthcare sector? How do we work with emergency management? How do we work with the business community? All pieces of a puzzle that are intended to work together in order to keep our communities safe. We looked at relevant documents that we thought would be helpful for development of the public health preparedness capabilities. So we reviewed the National Health Security Strategy, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, the CDC Strategic Goals, as well as other relevant documents that had something to say about the role of state and local public health and preparedness. One of the documents that we looked very carefully at was the National Health Security Strategy. There are capabilities within that document, and the ones that are pertinent to state and local public health are also included in our 15 public health preparedness capabilities as well. You will see that they look very familiar to you because this is the work that we’ve been doing for years in public health preparedness. The public health preparedness capabilities-based approach is a way of cataloguing and describing what must be done to prepare for a major event. CDC has adopted this same approach but is focusing on 15 capabilities that are appropriate and relevant to state and local public health. DSLR recognized the importance of gaining feedback from stakeholders, as well as engaging them in the development of the 15 public health preparedness capabilities. The Division worked with some 200 CDC and other subject matter experts to develop the capabilities. In addition, national partners, such as ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and NACCHO, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, coordinated review and feedback of the 15 public health preparedness capabilities with the state and local practice community. We believe there are many advantages to the new capabilities-based approach. First of all, it’s evidence-informed. Second of all, we believe that it’s a much better way to organize our work. It’s a much better planning tool. It takes all the relevant information and puts it in one place so that states and locals have a very clear idea about what it is that they need to build for a particular public health preparedness capability. We also believe that it’s going to give us here at CDC a much clearer idea about what the technical assistance needs are at the state and local level. We’re confident that these changes will result in safer and more prepared communities. We want to thank everyone that has participated in development of the capabilities, and we want to thank you at the state and local level for everything that you’re doing and your efforts to keep our communities safe. CDC’s Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning provides standards and practical guidance for public health preparedness. A second presentation, Overview of the Capabilities-Based Approach to Public Health Preparedness (102), outlines how the 15 public health preparedness capabilities are structured, and using one capability as an example, demonstrates how its component parts relate to one another.