Community Health Centers: The Untapped Resource for Public Health and Medical Preparedness
Wood, Kanen M.
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HSPD-21 was recently released to the public calling for a transformation in the national approach to public health and medical preparedness in the United States. The latest deliberations, as prioritized by this strategy, are to bolster the nation's ability to manage a public health crisis by stimulating improvements in the areas of biosurveillance, countermeasure distribution, mass casualty care, and community resilience -- the objective being to create a much more tightly integrated systems approach toward public health and medical preparedness. Community Health Centers (CHCs), by philosophic orientation, geographic location, and as publicly-funded entities, are well-positioned to provide medical services, education, and other human services to prevent, prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from the public health impact of a bioterrorist event or other biological disease outbreak. Aggressive investment in CHCs and their emergency management programs serves a dual purpose that will (1) create greater social equity by reducing health disparities and make public health emergency management more accessible to special needs populations and (2) support many of the objectives identified in the Public Health and Medical Preparedness Strategy.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (January 2009), v.5 no.1
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