As the United States continues to adapt to a more digital, mobile, and interconnected world, health care and public health professionals have sought to better prepare for and respond to long-standing and emerging threats to the nation’s health security. Health security is the collective effort to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the health consequences of natural, man-made, and technological disasters. Although substantial progress has been made in the past 15 years toward improving health care and public health systems and capacities for health security threats, many complex challenges persist, and often the nation’s preparedness efforts are not sufficient. Given the transition to a new administration and Congress, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies (the forum) identified the present time as a unique opportunity to acknowledge these persistent issues; evaluate past, and perhaps inadequate, approaches to addressing them; and discuss intentional and innovative new solutions.
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and this Proceedings of a Workshop was prepared by the rapporteurs as a factual account of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants and are not endorsed or verified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
To explore these persistent issues of preparedness, on March 8–9, 2017, the forum hosted a 2-day public workshop in Washington, DC, called Opportunities for the Future of Health Care and Public Health Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Appendix A shows the workshop agenda and the workshop statement of task can be found in its entirety in Appendix B. Appendix C provides biographical sketches of the workshop speakers and moderators. The workshop objectives are highlighted in Box 1-1.
These proceedings summarize the discussions and panel presentations that took place during the workshop. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the threat landscape as well as an overview of the complex network of stakeholders involved with U.S. health security. In Chapter 3, the threats and challenges that affect health care and public health critical infrastructure, data collection and use, program funding, and international disaster response cooperation are introduced. Chapter 4 continues to explore the challenges and underlying issues that have affected decision making and progress to date. Chapter 5 provides strategies for how health security initiatives might move forward. Finally, Chapter 6 highlights the importance of leveraging this transitional period.