Reflecting on 2018, and looking ahead to 2019

Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019

December 19, 2018

December 19 – 2018 was a transformational year for Healthcare Ready. As we reflect on our work in the past 12 years of our history, we remain extraordinarily grateful to our partners and supporters. The organization’s mission can only be fulfilled through partnerships and resources that enable us to support patients impacted by disasters. In addition to the many longtime partners that have supported our work, such as PhRMA, BIO, HDA, NACDS, and AAM, we’ve been thrilled to welcome Amgen, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and Pfizer as supporters.

This year reminds us of the seemingly ever-expanding variety of disasters and threats to patient and community health; in 2018 alone, we saw record-breaking wildfires, another record-breaking hurricane season, healthcare cyber-attacks on an unprecedented scale, and several disease outbreaks, including Zika, flu, and Ebola. These threats and events highlight the importance of the work we and our partners do to build and maintain an agile and responsive healthcare and public health sector.

Healthcare Ready activated for 14 separate major disasters this year in geographic areas representing over 100 million people for a total of over 90 days of response. During those activations, Healthcare ready responded to over two hundred and fifty requests for assistance and information from the private sector, federal, state, and county emergency management agencies, and individual patients including the following:

  • Coordinating close to 30 shipments of critical medical supplies to shelters and medical facilities in the affected areas
  • Arranging evacuation for over 150 dialysis patients to receive treatment
  • Facilitating deliveries of over 6,000 donated hygiene kits, 500 doses of naloxone, and dozens of urgently needed medical oxygen tanks to medical needs shelters

In between these activations, Healthcare Ready marshalled its resources to continue providing in-depth analysis, thought leadership, and data dissemination for the healthcare and public health sector. In 2018 we initiated and completed a National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) Challenge Project, in which we created a fully-functional prototype mapping tool for critical healthcare infrastructure status in emergency contexts. In addition, we worked with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability on the 2018 update of the city’s Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) to bring an equity and community resilience approach to the project, which resulted in our authoring of a couple new sections of Baltimore’s all-hazards mitigation plan. We are also continuing to utilize the data from our first ever International Health Security Poll, a major data gathering and analysis project that has already provided valuable information on patient perspectives on healthcare preparedness around the world.

In October of 2018, we signed a cooperative agreement with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to provide support and action on five focus areas related to enhancing the healthcare system’s capability and capacity to respond to disasters. We look forward to deepening our existing partnership with ASPR and the federal government. We are also excited for our Heroes of the Supply Chain Initiative, which will launch in early 2019 to celebrate outstanding efforts and cooperation in the healthcare supply chain, while providing educational resources for stakeholders and beneficiaries.

As we close out 2018, we are galvanized to hit the ground running in 2019, when we will continue to build upon existing programs and put new initiatives into action. To achieve our mission, we will continue providing leadership and leaping into action when disasters and threats manifest. We do this all thanks to the generosity of our partners and supporters who make the work we do possible. We continue to be floored by this community’s commitment to patient well-being and we’re honored to work alongside you all this year. We look forward to working with our members, partners, and supporters in continuing to safeguard our healthcare system – and the millions of patients it supports – in the new year and beyond.

Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D.

Dr. Nicolette A. Louissaint is the Executive Director of Healthcare Ready. Prior to this position, Nicolette served as the organization's Director of Programming. Before joining Healthcare Ready Nicolette served as a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. During the height of the Ebola Epidemic of 2014, Nicolette served as the Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola.