Ready or Not? 2011: Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

Source: Jeffrey Levi, Laura M. Segal, Dara Alpert Lieberman, Rebecca St. Laurent, Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, December 2011

From the summary:
Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism finds key programs that detect and respond to bioterrorism, new disease outbreaks and natural or accidental disasters are at risk due to federal and state budget cuts.

The report, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), identifies some key programs at risk due to continued cuts to federal public health emergency preparedness funds include:
– 51 of the 72 cities in the Cities Readiness Initiative are at risk for elimination; the Initiative supports the ability to rapidly distribute and administer vaccines and medications during emergencies;
– All 10 state labs with “Level 1” chemical testing status are at risk for losing top level capabilities, which could leave the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the only public health lab in the country with full ability to test for chemical terrorism and accidents;
– 24 states are at risk for losing the support of Career Epidemiology Field Officers – CDC experts who supplement state and local gaps to rapidly prevent and respond to outbreaks and disasters, such as during the H1N1 flu pandemic and responding to the health impact of the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010; and
– The ability for CDC to mount a comprehensive response to nuclear, radiologic and chemical threats as well as natural disasters is at risk due to potential cuts to the National Center for Environmental Health. All 50 states and Washington, D.C. would lose the support CDC provides during these emergencies.

…Combined federal, state and local budget cuts mean public health departments can no longer sustain a number of basic elements of preparedness. In the past year, 40 states and Washington, D.C. cut state public health funds – with 29 of those states and D.C. cutting their budgets for a second year in a row and 15 states for three years in a row. Federal funds for state and local preparedness declined by 38 percent from fiscal year (FY) 2005 to 2012 (adjusted for inflation) – and additional cuts are expected under budget sequestration….
See also:
Recording of the News Conference Call
Trust for America’s Health Release
Remembering 9/11 and Anthrax: Public Health’s Vital Role in National Defense
Ready or Not 2010
Ten Top Priorities for Prevention
Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness initiative page

Leave a Reply