Change is a good thing: it brings new ideas and new opportunities. I’m excited about the new changes in my career as I transition from the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) to the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) within CDC. I joined OPHPR this August as the new Director and am thrilled about the opportunity to engage in some more disruptive innovation.
I understand the critical mission of safeguarding health and saving lives by providing a platform for public health preparedness and emergency response from my own experience participating and leading responses to infectious disease outbreaks associated with hantavirus, Ebola virus, SARS, and anthrax. But public health emergency preparedness and response doesn’t just deal with threats, be they biological, chemical, radiological/nuclear, or even natural disasters. At its heart, preparedness is a prevention strategy and should prepare us for the more frequent public misadventures that impact our health every day.
As I take on my new role, I hope to expand the scope of this blog to include posts that talk about these preparedness and response issues. As we all know from recent events such as the H1N1 pandemic, flooding in North Dakota, and the Gulf oil spill, public health emergencies can happen to anyone, at anytime, anywhere. It is important to be educated and prepared for these and other possible threats to our health security if we want truly resilient communities.
As we transition the Public Health Matters blog to OPHPR, NCEZID’s leadership team is exploring the possibility of starting a new blog that will focus on various topics related to the prevention and control of emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases.
We will still continue to cover a wide range of public health topics here on Public Health Matters. Stay tuned for new guest posts from our Career Epidemiology Field Officers (CEFOs). They have some great stories to tell about their work out in the field!
RADM Ali S. Khan