WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Ben Luján (D-N.M.), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced The Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response Reauthorization Act to require evidence-based practices to improve communication in public health preparedness and response. This legislation has been included in the HELP Committee bipartisan package, the PREVENT Pandemics Act.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our public health officials have worked valiantly; however, it is clear that we were not adequately prepared,” said Senator Cardin. “Now, we have an obligation to support and invest in public health preparedness. Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response will leverage the expertise of our research centers to share findings and promote strategies, improving our nation’s ability to respond to future public health crises.”
“Looking back on the world’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that accurate and uniform public information is vital to the development of treatment options and overall success of the response to rapidly evolving pandemics,” said Senator Marshall. “The ultimate goal is to have every entity involved in emergency preparedness and response armed with the same knowledge. This legislation designates medical research centers that can systematically share best evidence-based treatments and practices, in turn improving our nation’s readiness for the next public health emergency.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic quickly revealed that we need a clear, consistent response to public health emergencies that can be easily understood and followed,” said Senator Luján. “By creating a proactive network for medical centers, this legislation would improve the ability of health professionals across the country to provide a more comprehensive response that will keep our communities safe and healthy.”
“This bill is about science preparing us for the next pandemic,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to increase coordination and better communicate with the American people.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic altered our society, economy and public health systems, and we must greatly improve our ability to prevent and prepare for future public health emergencies,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This legislation will enable us to build a comprehensive health and national security strategy to protect and equip the United States in the event of another devastating pandemic and will strengthen our nation’s emergency response preparedness.”
The Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response Reauthorization Act aims to improve our nation’s emergency response by designating regional academic and medical centers as research and communication hubs that disseminate public health information. Specifically, the bill would reauthorize a program to establish a network of Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response to do the following:
- translate research findings or strategies into evidence-based practices to inform preparedness and response to public health emergencies,
- improve awareness of these practices and other relevant scientific or public health information among health care and public health professionals and the public,
- expand activities, such as through partnerships, to improve public health preparedness and response, and
- provide technical assistance and expertise to health departments as appropriate.
In addition, these Centers of Excellence would augment the capabilities of public health departments by supporting the establishment of technological and analytical capabilities and translating research findings into evidence-based practices to help inform health care providers and public health officials. In total, $5 million has been authorized to carry out this program.
The Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response Reauthorization Act is one of several initiatives under consideration by the Senate HELP Committee to improve the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pandemic response efforts.