The Public Health Emergency Preparedness program recently underwent a major reorganization and name change. The program aptly renamed, “Health Security, Preparedness, and Response” represents a greater focus on the coordination across governmental jurisdictions, communities and the health and emergency response systems. Further, it places an emphasis on ensuring that adequate medical surge capacity, a sufficiently sized and competent workforce, sustainable medical countermeasures, and resilient communities are ready and able to respond to health emergencies.
The goal of health security is to:
- Build community resilience; and
- Strengthen and sustain health and emergency response systems.
What is health security?
Based on the national definition from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health security is any state such as Oregon in which its people are prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of health threats or incidents with potentially negative health consequences.
What’s different about the program?
In addition to the name change, the program reorganized to ensure better coordination of information and resource capacity both internally and externally. There are five units within the program: Planning, Operations, Finance and Logistics, Information Technology and Communication.
- The Planning Unit focuses on the development and maintenance of emergency response plans, the development of Incident Action Plans and the evaluation of emergency response efforts.
- The Operations Unit houses the three major teams: the HSPR Liaison program provides support to both local health departments and hospitals across the state; the Medical Reserve Unit, which coordinates all medical volunteers across the state; and the Duty Officer, which maintains a 24/7 emergency contact for public health.
- The Finance and Logistics Unit oversees all budget and contract administration for both steady state and activation time.
- The Information Technology Unit oversees the project administration for all IT systems used by the program and maintains the Health Alert Network.
- The Communication Unit coordinates public education and outreach during steady state and leads emergency risk communication efforts during activation.