Updates

S&T Supports FEMA's Recovery Plan in Puerto Rico

To supplement recovery the 2017 hurricanes, Congress has required the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the Governor of Puerto Rico in delivering a full report on the damage as well as a plan for building back more resiliency within 180 days. Supporting this effort, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is providing expertise in integrating possible solutions with assessing hurricane damage and recovery needs in Puerto Rico.

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Dogs, adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers, are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect avian influenza.

New Free S&T App Tracks Locations, Vitals, Keeping First Responders Safe

When first responders are on a mission, being able to quickly and easily track the location of fellow responders can be challenging. Recognizing this limitation, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) funded the development of the Watchtower mobile application, which is available, free of charge for all public safety users. The app allows users to track and report their locations using the global positioning systems already built into smartphones.

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on FDA’s Efforts to Foster Discovery and Development of New Tools to Fight Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections

The increase in serious antimicrobial drug-resistant infections is a critical public health concern and a growing threat to patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on the scientific challenges and economic impediments surrounding this issue.

DRIVe-ing Innovation

DRIVe is a transformative, business-friendly approach to identifying, capturing, nurturing and accelerating lifesaving innovation to solve tough health challenges that span health security and daily healthcare. The Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIV) is part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will oversee this new accelerator program.

Building a Resilient Nation

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) moved from immediate response and recovery to long-term recovery, the agency reflected on the lessons from 2017 disasters. As a result of FEMA’s months-long after action review, FEMA recently released its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. A newly announced organization, FEMA Resilience, will implement the plan, focusing on preparing for disasters and making the nation more resilient by leveraging FEMA's missions of mitigation, insurance, preparedness, grants, and continuity.

DHS Accelerates Data Solutions to Uncover Emerging Biothreats

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate collaborated with the Office of Health Affairs National Biosurveillance Integration Center to launch the Hidden Signals Challenge, which called for the design of an early warning system to uncover emerging biothreats. Winners have been announced and move on to deploying their systems.

5 Communication Lessons Learned From Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria exposed residents to an increased risk for foodborne, waterborne, infectious and non-infectious diseases, and other public health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assembled a team of experienced communicators to figure out how to communicate multiple health risks to the public, especially to rural and isolated communities, when basic resources and services are not available. These five key lessons learned will help other communication responders prepare for the 2018 hurricane season and any future emergency events.

As DHS Secretary Nielsen Maps New Cybersecurity Strategy, S&T Lends R&D Support

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen previewed the May unveiling of the department’s new cybersecurity strategy and issued a stern warning to cybercriminals. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working in tandem with DHS operational components by conducting research and development (R&D) in numerous areas that will help strengthen DHS’s ability to detect and defend against cyberattacks.

Dialing Up the Body’s Defenses Against Public Health and National Security Threats

Inspired by recent advances in the understanding of when and how genes express their traits, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) new PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program explores ways to better protect against biological, chemical, or radiological threats by temporarily and reversibly tuning gene expression to bolster the body’s defenses against – or directly neutralize – a given threat.