First-of-its-kind U.S. Health Safety Preparedness Index
comprehensive assessment of health security preparedness to date
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[December 06, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD — This week the
Illinois Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the
Association for State and Territorial Health Officials, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, and 20 development partners,
announced the release of the National Health Security Preparedness
Index, or NHSPI, a new way to measure and advance the nation’s
readiness to protect people during disasters.
The 2013 NHSPI looks collectively at the health preparedness of
states, including Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health
can use the index to inform policy and resource decisions, guide
quality improvement, and encourage shared responsibility for
preparedness across communities.
"The tornadoes and severe storms
we experienced in Illinois last month are a stark reminder of the
importance of being prepared," said IDPH Director LaMar Hasbrouck.
"This first-of-its-kind index is a growing measure of how well we
are all working together, not just public health and health care, to
best prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from
public health threats. This tool can help Illinois zero in on our
areas of strength as well as opportunities to advance our future
The 2013 index results identify the following strengths in
surveillance and laboratory testing — the ability to detect
chemical and biological disease agents, to analyze and upload
lab results during a public health food emergency, and to test
for a broad range of infectious agents.
Surge management in acute and primary
care — the timeliness of patient movement from emergency
department triage to facility admission, the ability to reduce
or eliminate medical surge bottlenecks, and the capacity to
handle admitted patients.
The 2013 index also reveals areas in greatest need of
and engagement and management of volunteers during emergencies —
the ability to preregister volunteer health professionals and to
coordinate the identification, recruitment, registration,
credential verification, training and engagement of health care,
medical and support staff volunteers during a response.
Community planning and engagement for
at-risk populations — the ability to anticipate disaster
management response for special needs populations, to care for
children with disabilities during a public health emergency, and
to provide behavioral and mental health services to children
following emergency events.
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The NHSPI was developed by a steering committee chaired by John
R. Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., a former IDPH director, now of the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation, and three working groups comprised of more
than 75 experts from public health, emergency management, private
sector, nonprofits, government and academia.
"Policymakers, practitioners, researchers, communicators and
others interested in strengthening the health security of states and
the nation are invited to explore and utilize the NHSPI," said Dr.
Lumpkin. "Exploring the index can deepen understanding of what
influences our national health security and what is needed to
sustain and advance it."
To learn more about the index and the 2013 results, visit
The index highlights several priorities currently being addressed
in the IDPH strategy for 2014-2018. This is a plan to guide the
department in building its capacity to better meet the public health
needs of all people and communities in Illinois. The plan focuses on
five strategic priorities: partnership development; data quality,
use and dissemination; reducing health disparities; regulatory
improvement; and branding, marketing and communication. The plan
also emphasizes creating a culture of measuring performance, quality
improvement and customer service, as well as aligning the department
with the State Health Improvement Plan. For a copy of the strategic
plan, go to
Illinois Department of Public
Health file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]