y VRXw NlrM dfxy h S NPf

UNMC helping in national biopreparedness effort

Two experts in preparedness education at UNMC are lending their expertise to help develop a Public Health Emergency Response and Recovery Rapid Assessment Framework (RAF) for the assessment of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency Response and Recovery capabilities.

The Office of Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a contract to the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) consortium, of which UNMC is a member.

The contract is being led by Julie Crumly, PhD, a research and evaluation specialist with ORAU, alongside Deborah Levy, PhD, co-director of the Center of Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, & Emerging Infectious Diseases in the UNMC College of Public Health and Keith Hansen, director of the Center for Preparedness Education at UNMC.

“The aim of the contract is to create a process through which the U.S. HHS will be able to provide emergency response and recovery efforts in a more efficient manner. This process will allow HHS leaders to implement recommendations for improvement and to prepare for future emergencies that may occur soon after previous events,” Hansen said.

“These assessments will help the federal government improve its disaster response capabilities tremendously. We are ecstatic that the COPH is once again having a strong positive impact on the health of communities across the country,” Dr. Levy said.

Hansen agreed saying, “The COPH has contributed a lot of new ideas about emergency preparedness that have helped make public health officials and agencies more equipped to deal with sudden public health emergencies. This contract with the HHS OIG will help us to ramp up the level of contribution we are able to provide, allowing us to make a much larger positive impact on the public health community than we could before.”

A professor in the department of epidemiology at UNMC, Dr. Levy was previously the chair of that department. Prior to that, she was stationed at the CDC for 20 years as a U.S. Public Health Service Officer where she was deployed on over 10 missions, including serving as an epidemic intelligence service officer. She also served as the acting director of the Strategic National Stockpile and led the health care preparedness activity.

Hansen is co-executive director for the Association of Healthcare Emergency Professionals and also is the incident commander for UNMC’s response to the COVID-19 event. An instructor of emergency preparedness at UNMC, Hansen assists UNMC with business continuity and emergency response planning. He has previously served as the ESF-8 coordinator for the state of Nebraska, where he developed and implemented Nebraska’s Strategic National Stockpile program.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services OIG mission is to provide objective oversight to promote the economy, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of HHS programs, as well as the health and welfare of the people they serve.