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Our Global Voices Posts

Global Rapid Responders – Our Boots on the Ground Defense

Posted on by Ashley Greiner, MD, MPH
Ashley Greiner (Global RRT Tier 1 Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist) worked long hours in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Dr. Greiner is seen here checking samples labels before sending them to the Port au Prince national laboratory for testing in October 2016 (Photo courtesy of Coralie Giese)
Ashley Greiner (Global RRT Tier 1 Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist) worked long hours in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Dr. Greiner is seen here checking samples labels before sending them to the Port au Prince national laboratory for testing in October 2016 (Photo courtesy of Coralie Giese)

Because our world is more connected than ever, a disease threat that occurs anywhere can very quickly spread across boundaries and become a threat to people worldwide. New microbes are emerging and spreading, drug resistance is rising, and limited biosafety and security measures in laboratories around the world make the intentional or unintentional release of dangerous microbes easier. Global travel and trade increase the chance and speed of these risks.

CDC’s experience with the Ebola response highlighted the challenges of addressing global health emergencies. Given the number, scale, and intensity of current global health emergencies, CDC continues to build its capacity to respond quickly and sustainably to global health threats.

Quick action can save lives. Building upon lessons learned from recent global public health crises, such as Ebola, CDC established the Global Rapid Response Team (Global RRT) – a highly trained workforce ready to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world. There are more than 400 senior and mid-level surge staff enrolled, with over 50 responders ready to deploy immediately, at any given time.

As an Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist with CDC’s Global RRT, I know firsthand how quickly a health emergency can go from bad to worse. One of my recent deployments was in response to Hurricane Matthew, which struck the southwestern coast of Haiti in 2016. As a member of the first CDC team to deploy to Haiti, I joined staff from the Haiti Ministry of Health (MOH), CDC’s Field Epidemiology and Training Program residents, and CDC Haiti staff in the initial response.

In Abricots, Haiti, CDC responders faced access difficulties while collecting stool specimens for laboratory confirmation of cholera.
In Abricots, Haiti, CDC responders faced access difficulties while collecting stool specimens for laboratory confirmation of cholera.
Photo credit: Coralie Giese, CDC

The team focused on assessing storm damage to health care facilities, working with the MOH to rebuild surveillance systems, investigating disease outbreaks, and coordinating with other US and international partners involved in the response. Our field work in the first days of the response helped identify an increase in suspected cholera cases related to Hurricane Matthew’s widespread destruction of infrastructure, health facilities, and water systems in the southwest portion of the country.

In addition to responding to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, in the past year I’ve also deployed to Mongolia to support the measles outbreak response, to Tanzania to combat cholera, and to Colombia, Ethiopia, and Uganda to support national rapid response team capacity building. Each deployment reinforced the need for early disease detection and effective emergency response and recovery systems.

As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic. I am proud to work with public health experts dedicated to helping create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

Posted on by Ashley Greiner, MD, MPHLeave a comment

The Stakes are High, the Goal the Same – Overcome Cancer

As a pediatric oncologist, I have sat across from a family and told them the heart wrenching news that their child has cancer. Many families tell me later that this was the worst day of their lives. Although I was the bearer of bad news, I had a strong oncology training, a collaborative team of Read More >

Posted on by Elizabeth Van Dyne, MD, MPH EIS OfficerLeave a commentTags ,

Protecting newborns from infection in healthcare settings

Each year, a staggering 3.6 million babies globally will die within the first four weeks of life. Tweet This As a mother, the safety of my baby is of utmost importance to me. Yet each year, a staggering 3.6 million babies globally will die within the first four weeks of life. Tragically, many of these Read More >

Posted on by Rachel Smith, Medical Epidemiologist2 CommentsTags , , , , , , ,

The Case for Global Health Security

Finding and stopping disease outbreaks at the earliest possible moment no matter where they emerge is important: to reduce illness and death, increase national security, and maintain economic gains made over the previous decades. Disease threats, after all, require only the smallest opening to take root and spread. In today’s tightly connected world a disease Read More >

Posted on by Maureen BarteeLeave a commentTags , , , , , ,

CDC Continues the Fight Against Polio

In 1988, when CDC joined three other partners to launch the ambitious Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the world was a much different and, measured by polio’s reach, dangerous place. Back then, polio existed in more than 125 countries and it paralyzed 350,000 children that year. Thanks to GPEI and the tireless work of its Read More >

Posted on by Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director, Center for Global HealthLeave a commentTags , , , , , , , , ,

Innovation to Drive Impact: Reaching the Hardest to Reach

A version of this blog also appeared on AIDS.gov. As we mark World AIDS Day, we reflect on how far we’ve come and acknowledge the profound challenges that still remain. The scientific progress we’ve made since the first cases of AIDS that appeared more than 35 years ago has been nothing short of remarkable. The Read More >

Posted on by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TBLeave a commentTags

World AIDS Day 2016 Leadership Statement

  Below is a quote by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB: “On this World AIDS Day, we reflect upon the all too many lives—nearly 35 million–that have been lost since the first days of the epidemic, celebrate the leadership that has driven a major expansion of quality Read More >

Posted on by Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TBLeave a commentTags ,

INSPIRED to End Violence Against Women and Children

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. More than 1 billion children—half of all the children in the world—are victims of violence every year. And in many countries, one in four girls experience sexual violence before the age of eighteen. Every child has the right to grow Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Deb Houry, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and ControlLeave a commentTags , , , , , ,

Choose the Road to Zero Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

  The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims takes place every third Sunday in November. It serves as a way to: Remember the millions of people killed and injured in road crashes as well as their families, friends and those affected; Pay tribute to the dedicated emergency responders, police and medical professionals who deal Read More >

Posted on by Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, PhD, MPHLeave a comment

Everyone Needs Somewhere to Go: World Toilet Day 2016

We use toilets every day – at home, school, and work – yet 40% of the world’s population does not have this luxury.  Clean and safe toilets are more than just a place to use the restroom.  They are essential for health, human dignity, and improved education.   Sadly, 2.4 billion people are still using inadequate Read More >

Posted on by Madison Walter, CDC Global Health Student InternLeave a comment
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