The 2015 Preparedness Summit, “Global Health Security: Preparing a Nation for Emerging Threats,” took place Tuesday, April 14 – Friday, April 17 in Atlanta. This year’s Summit was hosted by NACCHO and sponsored by several partner organizations, including ASPPH. The event brought together over 1700 emergency preparedness professionals to hear latest research findings and to learn about practical tools to enhance capabilities to plan and prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other public health emergencies.
ASPPH-member led sessions, including presentations by faculty representing CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLC) and Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers (PERRC), were featured throughout the Summit. PERLC and PERRC sessions focused on several preparedness-related themes, including public health preparedness for vulnerable populations and community resilience, tools and resources to assist practitioners in preparing for and responding to a disaster, and examining factors leading to volunteers’ willingness to assist during an emergency.
In addition, ASPPH hosted a partner town hall titled “Ensuring Workforce Readiness in Responding to Global Health Threats: Examples of Governmental Public Health and Academia Working Together” on Thursday, April 16. The town hall highlighted how CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health are working with partners, especially governmental public health agencies, to assure that the workforce is adequately prepared to respond to and prevent epidemics, specifically global health threats. Panelists included Dr. Jennifer Griffith (Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health PERLC), Ms. Margaret Potter (University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health PERRC), and Dr. Elena Savoia (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health PERLC and PERRC). Each of the panelists was accompanied by a practice partner from a governmental public health agency. In addition, Mr. Patrick Gardner (University of South Florida College of Public Health PERLC) provided guidance to the session. The town hall was moderated by Dr. Daniel Sosin, deputy director and chief medical officer, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Throughout the week, Summit attendees participated in several interesting and timely plenary sessions. The opening plenary on Tuesday, New Narrative – Threats 2015 and Beyond, featured keynote speaker Mike Walker, Senior Consultant, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. During his presentation, Mr. Walker kicked-off the Preparedness Summit by providing an overview of modern risks to both global and U.S. health security, including natural disasters, cyber threats, terrorism, and threats associated with climate change.
The morning plenary session held on Thursday was titled “Think Globally, Plan, Respond, and Recover Locally: Global Health Security”. Several highly distinguished Federal officials representing the White House, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, and United States Department of Agriculture participated on the panel. Panelists discussed their specific Federal agency’s role in global health security and attendees learned how those roles influence state and local health departments.
The 2015 Summit concluded on Friday with a closing session titled “When Health Threats Hit Home: A Case Study on the State and Local Response to Ebola”. Panelists representing numerous state and local health departments closely linked to the recent Ebola outbreak and response in the U.S. shared their experiences addressing a global health threat at the local level.
For more information about the Summit, visit http://preparednesssummit.org/