Increasing the nation’s preparedness and response efforts related to biological and chemical threats has been a top priority for the last three presidential administrations. Since the events of 9/11 occurred nearly two decades ago, there has been great progress to advance U.S. resilience in the face of these risks. Yet, in order to continue moving in the right direction, there is a need for ongoing assessment of the country’s biodefense activities. This promoted the creation of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense. Co-chaired by former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, this initiative aims to better identify potential challenges and gaps in U.S. biodefense efforts. This year’s Preparedness Summit will emphasize future considerations discovered as a result of these efforts. In particular, insights will be shared on how health departments and their partners can support this work from the local and state level.
Collaboration across the public health preparedness field including agencies at the local, state, and federal level is an essential part of making these necessary reforms possible. Fitting for this year’s Preparedness Summit theme of looking towards the future, this session will serve as an important jumping-off point informing the critical steps we must take to drive national resilience and recovery forward.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel Co-Chairs former Senator Lieberman and former Governor Ridge will lead the conversation during the opening plenary session at the 2017 Preparedness Summit. As a part of their presentation, Co-Chairs Lieberman and Ridge will share findings from the Panel’s report “A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needs to Optimize Efforts.” These include 33 recommendations made by the Panel to the federal government on better protecting the American people from the dangers posed by potential biological and/or chemical risks.
The Preparedness Summit is the premier national conference in public health and healthcare preparedness. Since its beginning in 2006, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has taken a leadership role in convening a wide array of partners to participate in the Summit; presenting new research findings, sharing tools and resources, and providing a variety of opportunities for attendees to learn how to implement model practices that enhance the nation’s capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other emergencies. This four-day annual event provides the only cross-disciplinary learning for the preparedness community. In 2016, the event brought more than 1,800 attendees to Dallas, Texas from nearly every state in the nation, as well as several territories and countries. Register to secure your spot and save $100 with early bird rates before March 17!