January 5, 2017 - 2016 was undeniably a big year for public health preparedness and response. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued a new rule mandating preparedness; progress in the fight against Zika was made as a diverse coalition of public health and healthcare organizations came together to successfully lobby for funding, and; response plans were tested during Hurricane Matthew, the Baton Rouge Floods, and numerous other smaller scale disasters.
This was a ground-breaking year for Healthcare Ready as well. We published our first report, Access Denied: Delivery of Critical Healthcare Products and Personnel to Disaster Sites, and we hosted a series of webinars on the pharmaceutical supply chain with the CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile. We also expanded our supply chain research to international supply chains by examining and sharing innovations in supply chain operations in three different countries – Ethiopia, Liberia, and the U.S. – through infographics. We were thrilled to welcome six new directors to our board.
As for me, I spent much of 2016 on the road, listening, talking to, and engaging new partners. I was proud to see and hear how private and public sector collaboration continues to expand in impactful ways to improve public health preparedness and response. I have been ecstatic to see the increased role of business emergency operations centers, made especially clear during last year’s responses.
On the heels of such a busy year, 2017 is shaping up to be another big year, especially for our organization. Healthcare Ready is excited to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Founded following Hurricane Katrina, our continuous operation since then speaks to the dedication and leadership of our board of directors, as well as the generosity of our donors. I believe that it also underscores the notion that the work we and others do – bridging relationship gaps in healthcare and partnering public health with healthcare – is still in high demand. Healthcare delivery is complex enough during normal times. The introduction of any disruption, whether natural disaster, outbreak, or cyber-attack, can have mind-boggling cascading effects on patients and communities. We are proud that this organization has spent the last ten years contributing to healthcare and public health preparedness and response.
And we are eager to expand on the progress we’ve seen in this space over the past ten years by continuing the paradigm shift from focusing on preparedness to creating broader resilience. Our work this year and in the years to come, then, will focus on making communities continuously strong. We’ve used the experiences and insights we gained during 2016 to help shape and inform where we’ll concentrate our efforts. Now, we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and diving more deeply into them, and using our position between sectors to share what we learn.
Drawing on the insights gained from conversations we had around the country this year, and our experiences both this year and in the ten since our founding, we’ve decided to dedicate much of our effort this year to identifying and highlighting innovations in healthcare that promote and strengthen public health. We intend to make a concerted effort not only to amplify the remarkable innovations of which we have already heard, but also to research and identify others.
We’ll also be concentrating on bringing folks that don’t typically think about emergency preparedness and response to the table. Disasters and emergencies affect everyone, and we want to do our part to make sure all groups have a space and opportunity to voice their challenges, and to share their ideas. We want to spend 2017, our 10th year anniversary, to both sharing what we learn while also providing a space for others to share their perspectives and make their voices heard.
So be on the lookout for updates from the Healthcare Ready team on our activities this year. We intend to make our tenth year our most impactful yet.