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BLUE RIBBON STUDY PANEL ON BIODEFENSE TO EXPLORE CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS FOR STATE & LOCAL RESPONSE TO LARGE-SCALE BIOLOGICAL EVENTS
Panel Members Donna Shalala and Jim Greenwood to Host Public Meeting
at University of Miami
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 16, 2018) – Members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will convene at the University of Miami this week for a public meeting focused on the ability of state, local, territorial and tribal governments to respond to large-scale biological events. The meeting will be held at the Newman Alumni Center on campus beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, and will be co-chaired by former university president and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and former United States Representative Jim Greenwood, both of whom serve as Members of the bipartisan Study Panel.
“In the event of a large-scale biological attack, our lives and livelihood will come down to resources – whatever we can get from the federal government, to be sure, but also the resources we already have here in the state,” said Sec. Shalala. “We will not be able to maintain the status quo when it comes to health care delivery, law enforcement, commerce, agriculture, critical infrastructure operations and protection, labor, or transportation. The artificial delineation between public health and all other professions will disappear. Everything will become public health.”
The meeting will feature a lunch Keynote presentation by Dr. Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami. President Frenk is a world authority on public health and is expected to place local response to a large-scale biological event into a global context.
“These sorts of events are not beyond our imagination,” said Rep. Greenwood. “Books, movies, and television constantly illustrate the threat, our vulnerabilities, and the enormous consequences we will have to deal with. The press has made us aware of the increasing abilities on the part of our enemies to produce biological weapons designed to kill millions. We need to take up these scenarios and plan accordingly.”
Shalala and Greenwood say it is essential that the nation plan for an all-encompassing public health system before biological disaster strikes. It is not just a conversation between hospitals and the Department of Health. Every element of society needs to come to the table now. That is why the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was created – to assess the state of U.S. biodefense efforts comprehensively, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments.
About the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. The Panel continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein. Hudson Institute is the Panel’s fiscal sponsor.