DomesticPreparedness met with Admiral John O. Agwunobi, MD, MBA, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The leading HHS authority on pandemic preparedness details how his department supports the bottom-up planning and preparedness approach focused at the local level and backed up by federal development of epidemiological surveillance and the vaccine supply.

DomPrep has divided the 42-minute interview into five segments.

Download full audio interview to your MP3 player.

Listen to Audio Segment One The Public Health Service and Its Interface With State and Local Preparedness Agencies

An update on the Commissioned Public Health Service Corps, its deployment during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, recruitment programs, and the implementation of unit-based response activities.

Duration: 5 Minutes 20 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Two Pandemic Flu Planning at the Federal Level

HHS as the federal lead for pandemic flu planning and preparedness in the context of the all-hazards approach. Federal responsibilities for the nation’s vaccine supply and for epidemiological surveillance. Risk communication via the Web Site, www.pandemicflu.gov.

Duration: 10 Minutes 52 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Three The HHS State/Local Partnership in Pandemic Preparedness

Strengthening the local end of the public health infrastructure to meet the pandemic challenge through use of a “sector” approach. Assisting local-level managers and operators in planning and exercises. New approaches to the development of hospital surge capacity.

Duration: 14 Minutes 04 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Four HHS and the Vaccine Supply

The HHS policy on vaccine supply development and management. Stockpiling for frontline workers; the goal of ensuring vaccine production for every American within six months of an outbreak.

Duration: 6 Minutes 32 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Five Support for International Pandemic Preparedness

HHS’s bilateral and World Health Organization (WHO) efforts to develop an international surveillance system and improve/expand lab capacity. The need for global access to all viral strains. The department’s international technical guidance teams.

Duration: 5 Minutes 27 Seconds

Dr. John O. Agwunobi is Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. In that post, he serves as the Secretary’s primary advisor on matters involving the nation’s public health and oversees the U.S. Public Health Service and its Commissioned Corps. Prior to assuming his current post, Dr. Agwunobi served as Florida’s Secretary of Health and State Health Officer, under Governor Jeb Bush, from October 2001 to September 2005. He confronted many public health challenges during his tenure, including leading the state’s public health and medical responses to the unprecedented four major hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004. In addition, he led the Florida Department of Health in its response to the nation’s first-ever intentional anthrax attack, and subsequently guided the state’s efforts to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and mitigate the effects of a bioterrorism attack. His department’s other successes included Florida’s responses to West Nile, SARS, and numerous other outbreaks of infectious diseases, programs to decrease the state’s infant mortality rate, lower tobacco use among young Floridians, address racial and ethnic health disparities, and efforts to improve overall access to medical and dental care.

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