Main Themes of the Forum
Medical Surge Capacity
Organized and coordinated medical and public health preparedness programs are essential to ensuring optimal capacity to respond in the event of a bioterrorist attack or other public health emergency. Issues include: What are the appropriate levels of infrastructure (e.g., workforce, information systems, laboratories, etc) needed to ensure adequate preparedness? What is current status of local, state, federal levels? How can the public and private sector work together to improve capacity? What is needed to ensure adequate stockpiling of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc?
Disaster Preparedness Training
The extent to which we are able to respond effectively to catastrophic events depends, in large part, upon the quality and preparedness of the medical and public health workforces. Do health professsionals have the knowledge and skills needed to deal with catastrophic events? How can the public and private sectors work together? What are lessons learned?
Communication and Distribution
Ensuring efficient and effective communication and distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and equipment among local, state, and federal agencies, the private sector, and the community are essential. Issues include: What mechanisms are needed to improve communication among communities, local and state health departments, and federal agencies? What are the responsibilities of the private sector? What are the most effective distribution networks and how can they be used during catastrophic events? What will the public need to know about various types of services and what are different strategies for disseminating this information?
Psychological and Community Resilience
Psychological trauma is a major risk for health care and rescue workers, as well as individuals and communities. Issues include: What will be the mental health needs in the face of a catastrophic event? How can we enhance resilience for individuals and communities? What special preparations need to be made for critical sub-populations such as first responders and children?
Research and Evaluation
Evaluation of previous disasters and ongoing research and development of current preparedness programs is necessary to adjust to changing conditions. What is the status of ongoing research? How should research priorities be determined? What lessons can be learned from previous catastrophic events? How can areas needing improvement be identified? What are the appropriate performance measures for ongoing evaluation of preparedness?