190708 Impact of terrorism preparedness on public health

Monday, October 27, 2008: 4:50 PM

Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH , Los Angeles County - Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
During the past 7 years, local health departments have assumed stronger roles in emergency preparedness. Substantial increases in directed funding have been coupled with greater responsibilities and accountabilities to funding agencies and elected official at all levels of government. In Los Angeles, we see positive effects on public health infrastructure, emergency communications, education of staff and the public about potential terrorist threats and related responses. Surveillance systems for infectious, chemical and radiologically induced illnesses have been expanded and enhanced. Closer alliances around emergency preparedness issues have been forged with other local health departments, and with uniformed protection agencies, investigative agencies and other sectors. Public health laws have been reviewed and in some cases altered to facilitate appropriate responses to emergency situations. We are paying more attention to the psychological needs of employees during crises. The many preparedness exercises have helped to improve planning, integrated implementation and evaluation of critical activities.

However, during this same period, core Federal funding for some traditional public health activities have been reduced. Other high priority opportunities, including addressing the toll of chronic diseases overall and related health disparities, have received insufficient attention and funding. Some Federal programs have required significant resource expenditure without obvious commensurate benefits. Funding reductions for core emergency preparedness require difficult choices about priorities for investment to sustain infrastructure improvements. In some instances differing mandates and priorities of the Federal agencies involved in preparedness have led to confusion in Federal guidance to local health departments, reducing efficiency and slowing responsiveness.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to describe the impact of terrorism preparedness on public health.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Jonathan Fielding is a Professor of Health Services and Pediatrics and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. Dr. Fielding serves as Director of Public Health and Health Officer for Los Angeles County where he is responsible for the full range of public health activities for ten million county residents.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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