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How Does the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response Mobilize Response to Outbreaks?


Stephen Redd, MD (RADM, USPHS), Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how the CDC responds to outbreaks.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has always been involved in emergency responses. It’s been a big part of what we’ve done [since we were founded], [and] in fact, we are in our 70th anniversary this year. That work was predominately to support state and local health departments in their outbreak investigations.
In 2001, with the World Trade Center attacks, and particularly the anthrax attack, the ability to respond at scale and at speed was challenged. Our office was formed after the anthrax event to be able to operate very quickly in very complex situations, and bring speed and scale to those emergency responses to control outbreaks as quickly as possible.”
“The Emergency Operations Center brings different parts of CDC together so that we can operate quickly, at speed, and also in lots of different areas, at scale, something that was challenging during the anthrax event of 2001 and something that when a big emergency occurs, there’s a decision process about whether we should activate the Emergency Operations Center. The kinds of things that go into that are: how many cases do we think there will be; how many jurisdictions within the United States or outside the United States are involved; how many centers have expertise that need to be brought to bear; and what are the communication needs that the event will create so that we can have a single message and also have all the information together in one place.”
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