Implementing the National Health Security Strategy

Dr. Craig Vanderwagen, former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, wrote a five-part white paper series entitled “Implementing the National Health Security Strategy.” In this series, he explores issues that affect the success of public health practitioners in meeting the public’s health needs and, by doing so, increases the resilience of communities and the United States as a whole. The guiding framework for this series is the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS), which was developed and released in December 2009 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

This series broadly examines the importance of managing the movement of supplies, personnel, and patients in execution of various public health interventions. While utilizing lessons learned primarily in disaster events, this series also suggests the need for effective logistical skill in completing the more routine tasks associated with public health. The importance of planning, acquisition of the right tools and people, and necessary attention to the intervention details and its requirements are all addressed. Without these principles fully engaged, the success of the desired intervention is likely to falter.

This white paper can easily be downloaded at

W. Craig Vanderwagen

Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., was appointed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, Upper Half, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) in July 2006. He now serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Chief Preparedness Officer. In this position, he is the HHS Secretary's principal advisor on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. The mission of his office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to, and reducing the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. Admiral Vanderwagen has significant public health emergency and disaster-response experience. Most recently, he was the deputy secretary's special assistant for preparedness and led the teams that implemented the changes at HHS recommended in the White House Report Katrina Lessons Learned. He also: was the senior federal health official in the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana; led the public health team deployed on the hospital ship USNS Mercy to Indonesia to assist in the 2005 tsunami recovery; served as chief of public health for the Coalition Provisional Authority and Ministry of Health in Iraq; and directed some of the health care operations initiated to help Kosovar refugees during the 1999 Balkans conflict.



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