ASPR Engages Global Partners to Share Expertise on Topics of Mutual Concern


Working with partners strengthens ability to support and protect the U.S. during public health emergencies


I recently traveled to Europe for a productive series of meetings with many of our global partners, including with the European Union’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (HERA), the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Bavarian Nordic. My visit was an opportunity to engage our partners on topics of mutual concern across many ASPR equities, including medical countermeasure development, stockpiling, supply chain security, and emergency medical response.​​

These engagements allow us to share our expertise and in turn learn from our partners so that we are all better prepared when a global public health emergency occurs.

I stopped first in Brussels where I met with acting HERA Director-General Laurent Muschel to discuss our ASPR-HERA collaboration objectives for 2024, including supply chain awareness, information management, and stockpiling technical capacity in Africa. I also participated in the Two-Year Anniversary of the HERA conference on a panel to discuss “Climate change and health: enhancing Europe’s preparedness to respond” where I focused my remarks on the topic of resilience in the face of climate threats and President Biden’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.

ASPR has international counterparts around the world that we interact with regularly to advance the health security of the American people and the world. HERA’s creation in September 2021 was one the first organizations modelled after ASPR, and it has been impressive to watch it grow from about 20 employees when I first met with them in October 2022, to now having approximately 200.

I also joined Brig. Gen. John R. Andrus, Joint Staff Surgeon, at the NATO first joint meeting of senior civilian and military representatives from the medical sector to engage with health counterparts from our NATO allies. This was the first major health focused NATO meeting that included senior civilian health leaders. We covered important topics around improving the resilience of our healthcare sector including mass casualty planning and preparedness; security of supply arrangements for blood, blood products, and medical countermeasures; and Ukraine’s ongoing resistance to Russia’s invasion. I affirmed the United States’ commitment to the transatlantic alliance as President Biden prepares to host the 75th NATO Leaders Summit in Washington, DC next summer.

Dawn O'Connell attending the NATO meeting.

​I stopped in London to meet with ASPR’s partners at the UKHSA, which was established in 2020 to achieve the 21st Century Health Security needs of the United Kingdom. We discussed data and surveillance, global health security preparedness, and public-private partnerships for innovation. I also met with the Welcome Trust, a long-standing ASPR partner and co-funder of the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X.) ASPR established CARB-X in 2016 as a global non-profit public-private partnership to accelerate the development of antibacterial products. We discussed the current work of CARB-X, our ongoing concerns around antimicrobial resistance, and additional opportunities to partner on various research initiatives in the global health security space.

I finished my trip in Copenhagen visiting the Bavarian Nordic plant there to see first-hand the manufacturing process for the JYNNEOS vaccine, of which ASPR distributed over 1.1 million doses during the 2022-2023 mpox outbreak. We also discussed the future of this and other lifesaving vaccines. In addition, I had the privilege of meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, Alan Leventhal, to discuss ASPR’s health security work and public health partnerships in Europe. I wrapped up my day in Copenhagen by visiting the UNICEF supply warehouse, the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world, supporting children and families in crisis around the globe. We discussed the many challenges around stockpiling and potential opportunities for future collaboration to increase stockpile and supply chain resiliency globally.

The threats we face do not respect national borders, as President Biden stated​ at the NATO Summit in Vilnius this summer, “we need to update our toolset to better address the needs of today in this interconnected world. A world where climate disasters, pandemics, conflicts spill over borders and make it harder to address the challenges of poverty and instability that hold so many people back.” ASPR’s established and growing global partnerships are essential to making sure we are ready to respond to whatever the next health threat is and achieve a healthier future for all of us.


Public Health Preparedness; Response and Recovery; Medical Countermeasures




Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

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Dawn  O'Connell at NATO
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Created at 12/19/2023 10:57 AM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON
Last modified at 12/19/2023 3:38 PM by ELIZABETH JARRETT