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Strategic Goal 2: Manage the federal response to and recovery from public health emergencies and other disasters​

2022-2026 ASPR Strategic Plan

ASPR leads the public health and medical response to, and health and social services recovery from, public health emergencies and disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, and other extreme weather events; pandemics such as COVID-19 and other infectious disease threats; and deliberate attacks such as the intentional release of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents. The response to such a diverse set of threats requires nimble and robust response capabilities.

ASPR works with internal and external stakeholders to equip the healthcare system for response and recovery, provide surge and behavioral health support, and deliver public health supplies needed for patient care during disasters, especially for as persons with disabilities, older adults, children, underserved communities, and institutional settings. ASPR also supports the distribution of critical MCMs and other public health supplies to mitigate threats.

DMAT Team setting up tents

ASPR follows the HHS definition, included here for clarity: “In the context of HHS, this Strategic Plan adopts the definition of underserved communities listed in Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government to refer to ‘populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, who have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life’; this definition includes individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. Individuals may belong to more than one underserved community and face intersecting barriers. This definition applies to the terms underserved communities and underserved populations throughout this Strategic Plan.” From the 2022 – 2026 HHS Strategic plan which can be found U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

At-risk individuals are people with access and functional needs (temporary or permanent) that may interfere with their ability to access or receive medical care before, during, or after a disaster or PHE. Examples of at-risk populations may include but are not limited to children, pregnant women, older adults, people with disabilities, people from diverse cultures, people with limited English proficiency, people with limited access to transportation, people with limited access to financial resources, people experiencing homelessness, people who have chronic health conditions, and people who have pharmacological dependency. 

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