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Our meetings provide a national forum for leaders in the field to explore and discuss priorities, challenges, and policy implications in health security.

State of Biopreparedness

The State of Biopreparedness:
Lessons for Leaders, Proposals for Progress


Overview

I would just ask you to think for a minute about the day after a biological attack occurring
in Seoul or San Francisco. What is it that we're not doing that we will wish we had been doing
that could have prevented that? And what is it that we weren't doing enough of or fast enough
or in enough places that could have better prepared us to deal with such an attack?
- Andrew Weber, September 23, 2010

The state of biopreparedness in the U.S. is improving, but many important challenges remain.

Since 2001, federal, state, and local governments and their private sector and NGO partners have collaborated across disciplines to cultivate working relationships and build systems for preparedness, response, and recovery from biological attacks and other public health threats. Experiences with SARS, West Nile virus, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, H5N1 influenza, the 2009 earthquake in Haiti, and the H1N1 pandemic tested U.S. response plans and systems and provided important lessons that have helped strengthen systems and capabilities.

With regard to biodefense specifically, the U.S. has grown stronger in the past 10 years, but there is work that remains to be done in many realms crucial to biopreparedness-including threat assessment, detection and surveillance, countermeasure development and distribution, public health and medical response, and national recovery-all steps in the chain of resilience described by Senator Bob Graham at the conference, The State of Biopreparedness: Lessons from Leaders, Proposals for Progress (Washington, DC; September 23, 2010).

With the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (conference sponsor), the Center convened this national meeting to provide a forum for thought leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss ongoing challenges and priorities in biopreparedness and identify opportunities for improvement. Read the conference summary report for highlights.

Suggested Background Reading: