In concluding the workshop, Tom Inglesby reflected on key points made during each of the three panels and four sessions. Presenters and participants discussed, in detail, strategies to address the persistent challenges related to health security, particularly with respect to health care and public health critical infrastructure protection, data collection and use, funding for health security programs, preparedness for global health emergencies, and vulnerable populations and community resilience. Because health security efforts are collaborative and require many levels of national and international governance, discussions reiterated the need for a shared focus on practical, long-term solutions. These strategies are about building a more robust health security infrastructure to minimize the impacts of future disasters that are likely to challenge us.
Inglesby highlighted the importance of leveraging this current transitional period and noted that past and outgoing leaders in health security need to recognize and communicate with new and incoming leadership about the high-level goals and missions of the enterprise (see Box 6-1) and the approaches that have been tried previously to achieve those goals.
Brinsfield urged incoming leadership to maintain focus on the “long game,” because even if there are significant changes during a transition, the basic framework and structures in place will endure. Levy advised that transitional periods provide an opportunity for fresh analysis of the utility of existing programs versus new opportunities that may be available. Inglesby concluded by reminding the participants, “We’re living in a moment of momentous change, possibly very destructive change, but also possibly change that allows us to reexamine how some of the things that we’re doing might be done differently.”