George C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, Executive Director, American Public Health Association (APHA)

George C. BenjaminDomesticPreparedness met with George C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, Executive Director, American Public Health Association (APHA). The APHA executive director, well known in the public-health community as a leader, practitioner, and administrator, gives his views on a wide range of medical preparedness issues ranging from the medical management of logistics and staffs to risk communications. Most importantly, he points out how successful medical management can reduce the need for “social-distancing” policies that would in any case prove both unworkable and unenforceable in a pandemic.

DomPrep has divided the 63 minute interview into 6 segments.

Listen to full audio

Listen to Audio Segment One THE APHA Overview on the State of Public Health

Preparedness as a process and not a point in time.

Duration: 6 Minutes 10 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Two Bioterrorism Preparedness

Bioterrorism preparedness and its integration into various infection-control programs. The need for citizen engagement through increased training and the maintenance of competencies. The importance of having multiple mechanisms available for the supply and distribution of medical countermeasures. Improving the fast science and fast chemistry for reagents and analysis.

Duration: 15 Minutes 13 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Three Hospital Preparedness

Addressing the major challenges related to vaccine/anti-viral storage, security, legal authorities, and standards of care in mass-casualty responses. The role of volunteer healthcare workers.

Duration: 9 Minutes 05 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Four Pandemic Preparedness

Why the local response plan must put priority on risk communications and the management of logistics as it relates to reducing the need for social distancing. The vital importance of a workable and effective continuity-of-operations plan.

Duration: 15 Minutes 47 Seconds

Listen to Audio Segment Five Quarantine and Isolation

How and why the laws on quarantine and isolation have not really been tested. The need to clarify legal authorities in such areas as privacy versus contact tracing and where the jurisdictions of CDC officials and local health authorities may overlap in the transportation area – e.g. at some airports.

Duration: 6 Minutes

Listen To Audio Segment Six Technical Issues Associated With Pandemic Response

The critical need for fast science, the rapid deployment of vaccines, and the training required for pandemic preparedness. Observations on the use of N-95 masks by first responders and healthcare workers. The positive impact of NIMS (the National Incident Management System) on the public health community. The need to improve CDC dissemination of its Health Alert Network to clinicians, along with recommendations for actions.

Duration: 11 Minutes 16 Seconds

George C. Benjamin, M.D., FACP, has been executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public-health professionals, since December 2002; he also serves as publisher of the APHA monthly publication The Nation’s Health and of The American Journal of Public Health – the most prestigious U.S. publication in the public-health field. A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois College of Medicine, he is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. A highly respected author, administrator, and public speaker, he served earlier in his career as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (where he played a key role in the development of the state’s bioterrorism plan), as chief of emergency medicine at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and as acting director for public health for the District of Columbia. He also serves on several national boards and committees, including the advisory committee to the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

John F. Morton

John F. Morton is the Strategic Advisor for DomPrep. He is also the Homeland Security Team Lead for the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR). A member of the DomPrep team since its founding, he has served as managing editor for writer assignments and interviewer for scores of DomPrep audio interviews.

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