The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are pleased to announce the fourth annual National Health Security Award! This award recognizes local health departments that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in implementing health security-related initiatives within their jurisdictions. NHS Award winners will receive a travel scholarship to be recognized at the 2019 NACCHO Annual in Orlando, Florida.
Recently, HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response released an updated quadrennial strategy to safeguard the nation’s health in time’s of crisis. Consider how your department’s day-to-day operations are aligned with these strategies and how you impact National Health Security across the country. Health security is not only about strategic and long-term planning, it includes how your department meets the needs of your community. It’s working with your coalition partners to identify threats and plan your response. It’s working with your partners in public health and healthcare to ensure your community is resilient and ready.
Everything LHDs do is meant to improve the health of people in their community, and healthier people are more likely to survive a disaster and bounce back faster. That’s what national health security is all about: the nation and its people being prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of incidents with negative health consequences.
We want to hear about the projects making a difference at the local level. Local Health Departments are invited to submit applications for consideration in the following areas, which are based on the new ASPR priority areas:
Priority I: Provide strong leadership
The essence of what makes local health departments strong and effective are the vital policies, programs, and activities that combat illness, disease, and injury across the life course and during public health emergencies. The following are just some of the many ways local health departments can exhibit leadership in their local jurisdictions.
- Administrative preparedness that fosters flexibility and efficiency of community health programs
- Development of emergency preparedness plans with state and federal stakeholders
- Demonstration of LHD taking on a leadership role in response effort
Priority II: Building regional disaster health response capabilities
Regional disaster health response capabilities leverage healthcare assets within a region using in a tiered approach built on the strengths of local healthcare coalitions, the Hospital Preparedness Program, the National Disaster Medical System, and trauma centers. Local health departments play an integral role in the formation and sustainment of regional disaster health response capabilities by routinely collaborating within their healthcare coalitions and sustaining strong partnerships that result in greater medical surge capacity during and after a public health emergency. Examples of accomplishments that support the development of regional disaster health response capabilities include:
- Supporting mutual aid agreements to ensure medical response coordination
- Collaborating with specialty healthcare providers (e.g., trauma centers)
Priority III: Support robust and reliable public health security capacity
Sustainment of public health security capacity begins with strengthening local health departments so that they can perform disease situational awareness and disease containment, communicate in a bi-directional manner, and leverage their public health security capabilities to mitigate disease impact. Examples of accomplishments contributing to public health security capacity inlclude:
- Sustainment and development activities that create a public health workforce ready to meet the demands of the evolving threat landscape
- Demonstrating expertise in engaging with a wide spectrum of partners to ensure timely risk communication and public preparedness during and after response; and,
- Utilizing cutting edge public health capabilities and solutions to counter new threats.
Priority IV: Advance an innovative medical countermeasures enterprise
Medical countermeasure (MCM) readiness is essential to protecting the public’s health from disease outbreaks and CBRNE events. MCM distribution and dispensing is an inherently local function, which means local health departments are important actors who can ensure that lifesaving medical countermeasures can be used in a timely manner. Examples of accomplishments contributing to an innovative MCM enterprise include:
- MCM planning that incorporates nontraditional partners, such as healthcare systems, pharmacies, chain drug stores when developing distribution plans and determining response needs;
- Streamlined internal processes that promote fast, flexible decision-making in regards to MCMs; and,
- Conducting 21st century threat analysis and foresight.
One winner will be selected from each category, and arrangements will be made for awardees to be present at NACCHO Annual 2019, where they will be recognized for their invaluable contributions and commitment to National Health Security. Winners will also be featured in the NACCHO Preparedness Brief.
Important Note: While every section does not require applicants to make the connection between the project/program and national health security, reviewers have been instructed to evaluate entire applications for how completely this connection is made. The most successful submissions will consistently demonstrate strong national health security themes throughout the entire application.
Applications will be accepted now through April 26, 2019. LHDs are invited to submit one application per category, but will only be eligible to win one award. To preview the application, click here. To apply, click here.
Please note: Applications must be completed in a single sitting and will not auto-save if you close your browser before submitting your response. We encourage you to document your responses on a word document and have that document available for copy and pasting into the web version of the application. Only applications submitted through the application website will be accepted.