New York City has responded to numerous recent significant public health threats, including measles, Zika virus, Legionnaires disease, Ebola virus, and Hurricane Sandy, which underscore the importance of effective planning and response capabilities that can be applied to all hazards. As new threats, including novel infectious diseases, emerge, DOHMH must continue to strengthen and enhance the capabilities of the NYC medical and public health systems to prepare for, respond to and recover from evolving threats and other emergencies. More effective responses will enable DOHMH and the NYC healthcare system to prevent or reduce morbidity and mortality from incidents whose scale, rapid onset, or unpredictability stresses the public health and health care systems and to ensure the earliest possible recovery and return of the public health and health care systems to pre-incident levels or improved functioning.
In order to support its ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from health emergencies, DOHMH has identified key activities that align with the Public Health Preparedness capabilities and will address all domains over the five-year project period. Expected outcomes over the five-year project period include:
• Enhanced ability to identify and investigate an incident with public health impact; assess and share essential elements of information; implement procurement and expedited staffing to support medical countermeasure distribution and dispensing; and communicate situational awareness and risk information with the healthcare system as early as possible during a response.
• Enhanced ability to implement timely intervention and control measures.
• Enhanced ability to maintain emergency operations and manage surge during an emergency or incident.
• Enhanced ability to coordinate and support response activities with external partners.
• Ongoing inclusive risk planning for the whole community and focus on the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals during a response.
• Continuous learning and improvements through the coordination and evaluation of trainings, exercises, and real events.
Additionally, to ensure comprehensive, effective response coordination, DOHMH will continue to develop and leverage its inter- and intra-agency and non-government (e.g. community-based organizations) relationships, which is integral to preparing for, responding to and recovering from large-scale emergencies.