Whether natural, accidental, or intentional, public health threats are always present and can lead to public health emergencies. Public health departments and communities that are prepared to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from public health threats are critical to protecting and securing the nation’s public health.
Critical funding and technical assistance for state, local, and territorial public health departments is provided through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program.
Following the September 2001 terrorist attacks and later anthrax events, Congress appropriated funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand its support of state and local public health preparedness nationwide. Although these programs have made great progress since then, state and local public health departments and their respective preparedness programs and communities face many challenges. Federal funds for preparedness have been steadily declining: since 9/11, PHEP funding has decreased more than 42 percent. This makes it difficult for states to sustain the significant, measurable advances they have made in public health preparedness since 2001.
The public health preparedness community must speak with one voice to raise awareness about the preparedness accomplishments that the PHEP program and its dedicated champions have achieved over the past 15 years. Together, we can continue the important work of building stronger, more prepared communities.