july 2016

Updates

ECBC Explores Use of Gels for Biological Decontamination

Jointly, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) and CBI Polymer researchers are exploring how a HydroGel can be modified to decontaminate surfaces contaminated with biological, radiological, and toxic contaminants, such as spores of Bacillus anthracis, which are capable of causing anthrax disease in humans and animals.

Updates

NIST Leads Federal Effort to Save Lives and Property From Windstorms

Congress recently designated the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to be the lead agency for the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, giving it the primary responsibility for planning and coordinating the collaboration of federal agencies charged with achieving "major measurable reductions in the losses of life and property from windstorms."

Resilience

Social Impact Bonds & Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction

by Justin Snair & Megan Reeve Snair -

National policy and practice tend to focus efforts and resources on disaster response and recovery, rather than on disaster risk reduction. Understanding disaster risks and incentivizing sustainable risk reduction efforts could help reduce overall disaster costs and even save lives.

Commentary

Public Health - Opportunities for Action

by Catherine L. Feinman -

On 7 June 2016, the DomPrep team convened 14 subject matter experts from various disciplines to address issues surrounding community resilience and public health. The purpose of the roundtable was to align the missions and identify action items to create synergy among various community stakeholders. This article summarizes the key takeaways from the roundtable participants.

Reports

Community Engagement in Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response

In this report, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) addressed the pressing need to improve key elements of US planning and response capabilities for future public health emergencies including leadership, transparency, and explicit ethics integration at all levels of public health decision making.

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Updates

Digital Detection; ECBC Researchers Explore Pathogen Detection through Open Source Website

A team of researchers at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) have developed a means for Department of Defense (DoD) labs across the globe to quickly obtain a genomic analysis of unknown and potentially hazardous biological samples without incurring the cost and risk of shipping them to a robust stateside lab.

Resilience

Integration of Public Health Into the Whole Community

by Kathleen E. Goodwin & Leana S. Wen -

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is the oldest, continuously operating health department in the country - founded in 1793 to respond to a local yellow fever outbreak. BCHD is committed to the idea that health is critical to a community's ability to thrive and thus deserves to be incorporated in decision making in almost every sector.

Updates

Join DHS S&T for a Flood Resilience Facebook Town Hall July 20

Connecting with communities is paramount to the success of the Flood Apex program, and the focus for this Facebook Town Hall is individual decision making. Join the DHS S&T's First Responders Group Director on July 20, 2016 to share your perspectives on how S&T and its partners can enhance information sharing.

Preparedness

Recovery - Uniting Efforts in a Complex Process

by Natalie N. Grant -

Many communities - large and small - have recovered from disasters. Some have been successful, while others struggle to return. Disasters affect hundreds of communities nationwide every year and - at some point in time - each is confronted with the hard reality of recovering from a disaster. When the national attention and bright lights of the media fade, communities need to be prepared to recover.

Updates

The Department of Homeland Security Announces the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced the Fiscal Year 2016 Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program, with $10 million in available funds. This is the first federal assistance program devoted exclusively to providing local communities with the resources to counter violent extremism in the homeland.

Reports

National Household Survey, 2015

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division released the findings from its 2015 National Household Survey. Designed to measure household and individual preparedness and awareness, survey findings indicate specific levers that government and private sector partners can use to influence and increase overall individual and community preparedness.

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Updates

U.S. Experienced at Least 8 Billion-Dollar Disasters So Far This Year

In 2016, the United States has already seen eight weather- and climate-related disasters that have each met or exceeded $1 billion in damages. These eight disasters resulted in the loss of 30 lives, and caused at least $13.1 billion in damages, according to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Reports

Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Has Made Progress in Enhancing Critical Infrastructure Assessments, but Additional Improvements are Needed

The U.S. Government Accountability Office's prior work has shown that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made progress in addressing barriers to conducting voluntary assessments, but guidance is needed for DHS's critical infrastructure vulnerability assessment activities and to address potential duplication and gaps.

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Updates

Bio-Tech Firm PathSensors Announces New Universal BioSensor

Baltimore-based biotech firm, PathSensors Inc. announced the launch of its Universal BioSensor technology. Developed in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Universal BioSensor is a new biothreat detection platform that can use any existing antibody to rapidly develop tests for the presence of pathogens in environmental samples.

Updates

ECBC Team Slashes Time, Cost of Getting Better Decontamination Solution to Warfighters

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) researchers have developed a decontamination spray that enables soldiers at the unit level to decontaminate vehicle surfaces in the field immediately after exposure to a chemical warfare agent and continue with their mission. The formulation is being developed so that it can be ultimately put in the hands of the warfighter.

Preparedness

Public Health: A Whole Community Approach Partner

by Thomas Russo -

Public health practice parallels the whole community approach advocated by 21st century emergency management practitioners. Therefore, public health's emergency preparedness actions integrate nicely with contemporary emergency management practice. Several methodologies of public health practice lend themselves to collaboration with other planning and response disciplines. By examining these methods, public health can extend and maximize its role in community-based emergency planning, response, and recovery.

Reports

The Handbook for Campus Safety & Security Reporting 2016 Edition

This handbook reflects the U.S. Department of Education's 2016 interpretations and guidance of the various requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). The report was written to assist in understanding and meeting the requirements of campus safety and security measures.

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Resilience

Today's Decisions Drive Tomorrow's Power Grid

by J. Michael Barrett -

For more than a century, the U.S. electrical power grid has dramatically improved the health, safety, and economic productivity of hundreds of millions of people. Although this grid stands as an ingenious accomplishment, experts fear that, as the 21st century progresses, the grid's ability to meet evolving U.S. energy needs may falter without dramatic modernization.

Commentary

Bringing Public Health Preparedness Into the 21st Century

by Emily Lord -

The probability of certain public health threats, the costs and funding related to such threats, and the "silo" effect of the public health sector all contribute to the preparedness gap between public health and other sectors. It is time to bridge this gap and update preparedness efforts to better prepare for 21st century threats.

Preparedness

The 'Glue' for Incident Management

by George A. Morgan -

"Forms, we dont need no stinking forms to handle an all hazard emergency response in our ______ (fill in the blank: town, city, county, parish, tribal territory, region, state)," was no doubt echoed by many of the leaders of the numerous alphabet agencies attending mandatory National Incident Management System (NIMS) training some 15 years ago.

Updates

Army Researchers Team With Sanofi Pasteur to Co-Develop a Zika Virus Vaccine

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) announces a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement for the development of a Zika vaccine candidate with Sanofi Pasteur. WRAIR scientists and collaborators are moving rapidly to develop and test the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine candidate. Sanofi will explore advanced and larger scale manufacturing and production.

Reports

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Ebola Response Improvement Plan

In an effort to learn from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Ebola response effort, the Secretary of HHS asked a nonprofit research organization to review the Department's international and domestic responses to the outbreak. To guide its work in improving preparedness for subsequent public health crises, HHS developed this Improvement Plan.

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Reports

Report of the Independent Panel on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Ebola Response

To capture critical lessons from the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked CNA to convene an independent panel of public health, healthcare, emergency response, and communication experts to review the Department's international and domestic responses.

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Updates

NIH Funds Zika Virus Study Involving U.S. Olympic Team

Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health will monitor potential Zika virus exposure among a subset of athletes, coaches and other U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) staff attending the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil. The study aims to improve understanding of how the virus persists in the body and to identify potential factors that influence the course of infection.

Reports

2015 Annual Report of Federal Select Agent Program

This report summarizes the 2015 data for the Federal Select Agent Program, which regulates the possession, use and transfer of biological select agents and toxins so that important work with potentially dangerous and deadly pathogens is conducted as safely and securely as possible.

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Updates

HHS Moves to Boost Zika Vaccine Capacity in Brazil

To aid Brazil in developing a vaccine to protect people from Zika virus infection, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will join the World Health Organization (WHO) and international public health groups in providing funding and technical assistance to Brazil's Butantan Institute, a biomedical research center and Brazilian government partner.

Healthcare

Threats Evolving Faster Than Preparedness

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

With the current amount of discussion and media coverage regarding the spreading Zika virus and the mounting concerns over antibiotic drug resistance, public health remains a critical homeland security and emergency preparedness priority. Unfortunately, it is often a fluctuating priority that does not receive consistent attention, action, and funding to prepare for future known and unknown public health threats.

Updates

Avita Medical Awarded US$7.96m in BARDA Extension Deal

Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which supports development of medical countermeasures for possible mass casualty events has agreed to provide Avita Medical additional funding to support the company in its plans for US market approval and product launch of ReCell®.

Updates

ACIP Votes Down Use of LAIV for 2016-2017 Flu Season

CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the "nasal spray" flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for everyone 6 months and older.