november 2016

Updates

Fifth Meeting of the Emergency Committee Under the International Health Regulations (2005) Regarding Microcephaly, Other Neurological Disorders and Zika Virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee states that the Zika virus and related microcephaly cases no longer represent a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Zika virus remains a significant enduring public health challenge and will receive high-level attention and sustained funding by WHO.

Commentary

Making Tough Calls: Meta-Leadership for Critical Decisions

by Kerri Kline -

On 29 September 2016, DomPrep, in collaboration with Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), hosted a roundtable at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on “Leadership: Decision Science.” This article summarizes that discussion, which was moderated by Eric McNulty, NPLI director of Research and Professional Programs, and Richard Serino, NPLI distinguished visiting fellow.

Reports

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RAIL SHIPMENTS: Emergency Responders Receive Support, but DOT Could Improve Oversight of Information Sharing

This report examines: (a) the factors selected local emergency planners report affect preparedness; (b) the actions selected railroads have taken to support preparedness; and (c) the actions DOT has taken to support emergency planners.

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Updates

Senate Passes Ayotte Bill to Support First Responders

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill to make anthrax vaccines available to first responders. The First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act establishes a pilot program to provide eligible anthrax vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile that will be nearing the end of their labeled dates of use to emergency response providers.

Commentary

Meta-Leadership 2.0: More Critical Than Ever

by Leonard J. Marcus -

Over the past decade, meta-leadership, a methodology developed at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard, has become a widely adopted framework for leading in emergency preparedness and response. Over that time, both the model and methods have advanced based on field experience. This article presents the latest thinking and practice for those charged with public safety, security, and resilience.

Commentary

Importance of Presidential Leadership in Emergency Management

by Kay C. Goss -

With over 30 years working in emergency management – 12 years in a state governor’s office, almost 8 years at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as associate director in charge of national preparedness, training, and exercises, and 11 years in the private sector at Electronic Data Systems and Systems Research and Analysis International, it became apparent that presidential leadership has been quite important at all levels and for all sectors.

Updates

FDA Research to Help Speed Development of Zika Virus Vaccines and Therapeutics

A new neonatal mouse model developed by scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may help in exploring the potential activity of Zika virus vaccines and therapeutics, by improving and expediting studies to understand the causes and effects (pathology) of the Zika virus.

Reports

White Paper: The New Normal in Emergency Management

On 14 September 2016, a half-day workshop was conducted at The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) Conference. The topic of that workshop was “The New Normal in Emergency Management.” An expert panel included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Customs and Border Control, San Diego Harbor Police, plus community and business professionals. This white paper summarizes the proceedings and presents the panelists’ view on the topic of the “new normal” and how it relates to their daily operations.

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Updates

NIH-Led Effort Examines Use of Big Data for Infectious Disease Surveillance

Big data derived from electronic health records, social media, the internet and other digital sources have the potential to provide more timely and detailed information on infectious disease threats or outbreaks than traditional surveillance methods. A team of scientists led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviewed the growing body of research on the subject and published its analyses.

Reports

Decontamination of Subway Railcar and Related Materials Contaminated With Bacillus Anthracis Spores Via the Fogging of Peracetic Acid and Aqueous Hydrogen Peroxide

In the event of a biological incident in a transportation hub such as a subway system, effective remediation of railcars, subway tunnels and stations will require the use of various decontamination approaches. The study described in this report builds on previous fogging decontamination research, but with a focus on decontaminating subway railcars and related materials.

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Updates

Advanced Radioactive Threat Detection System Completes First Large-Scale Citywide Test

A recent exercise sponsored by Defense Agency Research Project Agency (DARPA) provided the largest test yet of DARPA’s SIGMA program, which is developing networked sensors that can provide dynamic, real-time radiation detection over large urban areas.

Reports

Food Safety and Inspection Service: Strategic Plan 2017-2021

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 2017-2021 Strategic Plan builds on prior successes and reflects emerging issues that FSIS faces in ensuring that the food products they regulate are safe to eat. In addition to establishing a clear foundation for long-range and day-to-day operations, the plan positions FSIS to anticipate future needs and challenges. 

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Updates

Research on New, Rapid Screening Test Identifies Potential Therapies Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Clinical Center and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have created a new way to identify drugs and drug combinations that may potentially be useful in combating infections that are resistant to many different antibiotics.

Reports

How to Steward Medical Countermeasures and Public Trust in an Emergency: A Communication Casebook for FDA and It's Public Health Partners

The purpose of this casebook is to provide U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other officials who deliver public health information with real-world inspired opportunities for reflective learning on the principles of effective medical countermeasures communication and on the wider contexts that influence the development, delivery, and consumption of accurate, timely, and meaningful MCM information in an emergency.

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Commentary

Data Accountability: Starting Over With a New Administration

by Michael Jacoby -

Over the next few months, precious time will be lost trying to quickly update newly elected officials on key health and life safety issues that have been discussed for years among their predecessors and the public. Only time will tell how the new occupants of the White House and Congress embrace and address such issues and the long-term implications.

Preparedness

High-Consequence Decisions: What It Takes

by Wendy Walsh -

In September 2016, more than 30 people gathered at the Harvard Faculty club to discuss topics related to leadership and the decision-making process. Most in the room had been faced with making critical life-and-death decisions at some point in their careers, and some on a regular basis. These participants were asked to share their knowledge about what it takes to make high-consequence decisions.

Updates

Testing of Investigational Inactivated Zika Vaccine in Humans Begins

The first of five early stage clinical trials to test the safety and ability of an investigational Zika vaccine candidate called the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine to generate an immune system response has begun at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Clinical Trial Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Updates

UN Chief Highlights Importance of Preparedness to Reduce Tsunami Risks

In his message marking the first World Tsunami Awareness Day, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of reducing current and future levels of risk, particularly through strengthening preparedness. The UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day in order to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.

Reports

Management of Dead Bodies After Disasters: A Field Manual for First Responders

“Management of dead bodies after disasters: A field manual for first responders” provides practical, easy-to-follow guidelines to ensure proper and dignified management of dead bodies after disasters. This second edition reflects scientific and technical developments in the field of mass fatality management, and lessons learned from the use of the manual.

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Reports

Cal OES Active Shooter Awareness Guidance

Concerned over the current lack of guidance for access and functional needs considerations associated with an active shooter attack, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) brought together a group of representatives from law enforcement, the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, emergency managers, the California Specialized Training Institute, and other disability stakeholders to update its Active Shooter Awareness Guidance.

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Updates

UNMC Will Be Home to 'A National Resource'

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) is poised to help with America’s health security. UNMC and Nebraska medicine leaders celebrate the recent $19.8 million award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness.

Updates

Engineers Design a New Weapon Against Bacteria

Over the past few decades, many bacteria have become resistant to existing antibiotics, and few new drugs have emerged. A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Brasilia, and the University of British Columbia has now engineered an antimicrobial peptide that can destroy many types of bacteria, including some that are resistant to most antibiotics.

Updates

Bringing Agriculture to Biodefense: University Leaders Highlight Issue at Bipartisan Policy Center

Recently, Kansas State University co-hosted an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that combines the best ideas from both parties to address the key challenges facing the nation. The panel discussion highlighted the threat of bio/agroterrorism and the importance of including agriculture in biosecurity and biodefense.

Updates

Getting Ahead of Infectious Disease Outbreaks

In an effort to identify emerging communicable diseases and epidemics earlier, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has developed modeling tools that predict the conditions and locations at greatest risk for outbreaks. These models account for diverse causes of epidemics, including global environmental change, social and demographic change and public health systems.

Reports

2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) developed the 2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities guidance to describe what the healthcare delivery system, including healthcare coalitions, hospitals, and emergency medical services, have to do to effectively prepare for and respond to emergencies that affect the public’s health.

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Podcast

Podcast: Richard Serino on Leadership in Crisis Communications

At the International Association of Emergency Managers annual conference in October 2016, DomPrep Advisor Anthony Mangeri sat down with Richard Serino, distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, to discuss leadership as it relates to crisis communications. An audio of the full interview is now available.

Resilience

Summer Air Traffic Delays – Warnings vs. Reality

by Leonard J. Marcus -

The aviation system remains a prime target for terrorists. The traveling public, airlines, and airports grew impatient in the face of long security lines. As a result, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was often in the news, until its leaders undertook a systematic process of transformation to both enhance security and minimize inconvenience for the traveling public.

Updates

NXT-ID Inc. Joins Cisco Solution Partner Program to Capture 2D and 3D Biometric Expressions

NXT-ID Inc., a company focused on the growing mobile commerce, announces that it has joined the Cisco® Solution Partner Program as a solution partner. Gino Pereira, chief executive officer with NXT-ID Inc., said, “Through this program, we intend to provide biometric and encryption solutions involving facial recognition and later on, voice recognition.”

Updates

Texas A&M Launches New Zika-Fighting App

Jennifer A. Horney, PhD, MPH, CPH, associate professor in the Texas A&M School of Public Health, and Daniel W. Goldberg, PhD, assistant professor of geography in the Texas A&M College of Geosciences and of computer science and engineering in the College of Engineering, have created a type of mobile health technology to fight the mosquitos at their source: standing water.

Updates

Anthrax Detector, 3-D Endoscope Among Highlights of Latest NIST Tech Transfer Report

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the Federal Laboratory Technology Transfer, Fiscal Year 2014, Summary Report to the president and Congress. Including both quantitative and qualitative measures of effectiveness, the report provides the most current comprehensive view of federal technology transfer efforts across 11 agencies.

Reports

The United States of America Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety

This report addresses the safety of land-based commercial nuclear power plants in the United States. It demonstrates how the U.S. government achieves and maintains a high-level of nuclear safety worldwide by enhancing national measures and international cooperation and by meeting the obligations of all the articles established by the Convention.

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Updates

New Handheld Radiation Detector Brings Highly Sensitive Neutron Identification to Security Personnel

Security professionals seeking reliable radiation detection and identification for remote locations can now use a pocket-size search-and-find detector that is designed for high-sensitivity and accuracy. The Thermo Scientific RadEye SPRD-GN (spectroscopic personal radiation detector – gamma neutron) builds on the family of RadEye personal radiation detectors. 

Updates

Science's Growing Role in Emergency Response

A new partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aims to provide the necessary tools to ensure people respond appropriately to dangerous weather systems. A key part of this work involves understanding how people behave when hazards approach, so emergency services can improve storm warnings and other communications.

Resilience

The Human Factors in Leadership Decision Making

by Eric J. McNulty -

Preparedness and response organizations have realized many benefits from adopting the Incident Command System (ICS) and similar formal management structures. Performance, however, depends on how people behave as humans within that system – particularly in stressful, fast-moving environments. Integrating behavioral training into ICS training may help improve performance and outcomes.