HHS Sec. Sebelius speaks on health preparedness

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke about efforts to strengthen health preparedness at this week's 2010 Public Health preparedness Summit.

At the summit, coordinated by the National Association of County and City Health Officials in collaboration with federal, state and local partners in public health, Sebelius spoke about the ongoing efforts to strengthen America's preparedness and response to meet future health challenges, including a pandemic or biothreat.

“The threats we face are always evolving, so our defenses must evolve, too,” Sebelius said. “We want to create a system that can respond to any threat as quickly as possible. The kind of system that is so dependable and comprehensive that it deters potential bioterrorism attacks and makes our enemies say, ‘It’s not worth the effort.’ And when it comes to the next pandemic from Mother Nature, we want to be able to develop, produce, and deliver a vaccine within weeks—not months.”

Sebelius noted that she has asked the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to lead a comprehensive review of the United States' public health countermeasures enterprise. The review is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter.

The goal of the review will be to create a modernized countermeasures process that will allow the United States to respond quickly and effectively to any threat to the nation's health.