HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Preparedness at All Levels

11/22/2015

HHS serves as the primary agency for Emergency Support Function (ESF)-8— preparedness and response to the health consequences of disasters, including terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction—under the National Response Plan (NRP). The NRP is designed to engage the response assets of multiple public and private partners and bring them to bear in a coordinated way at one or a few incident sites. HHS conducts the ESF-8 activities in support of the Federal incident management system, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its role as the domestic incident manager, pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directives and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296).

Carrying out HHS’s responsibility as the primary agency for medical and public health preparedness requires the diverse and unique skills of scientists, public health experts, and health care providers at AHRQ, CDC, FDA, HRSA, NIH, OCR, OD, and SAMHSA. Given the complexity of and need for coordination around these preparedness activities, HHS has created a coordination and oversight function for emergency preparedness within the Office of the Secretary. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) focuses the activities of these operating and staff divisions, develops and coordinates national policies and plans, provides program oversight, and is the Secretary’s public health emergency representative to other Federal, State, and local organizations.

Although significant preparedness activities are undertaken at the Federal level, States and localities are primarily responsible for responding to public health emergencies in their jurisdictions. HHS conducts basic and applied research to improve planning for and service provision in public health emergencies. HHS also offers technical assistance, guidance, and funding support to State and local governments to aid in the development and implementation of public health emergency preparedness plans.

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