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Our meetings provide a national forum for leaders in the field to explore and discuss priorities, challenges, and policy implications in health security.


Resilient American Communities:
Progress in Practice and Policy


Resilient American Communities: Progress in Practice and Policy (December 10, 2009, Washington, DC) was organized by the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC in collaboration with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism & Responses to Terrorism (START) and the Natural Hazards Center of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The meeting convened more than 140 attendees; among them were U.S. government officials, congressional staff, policy analysts, scholars, public health and emergency management practitioners, and members of the media. Speakers and panelists included representatives of major U.S. government programs and of private and non-profit initiatives. All are working to advance community resilience as a national goal.

The purpose of this meeting was to apply state-of-the-art knowledge of resilience to the design of federal policies that will strengthen local communities and their environments to withstand disasters, epidemics, and terrorism. To that end, there were 2 primary objectives: (1) discuss steps that improve community resilience to extreme events, based upon evidence from the field; and, (2) identify ways in which the U.S. federal government can best support localities and regions in implementing these measures. Such actions include: anticipating hazards in the design of safer hometowns; strengthening partnerships among the government, the private sector and community organizations; engaging citizens in policy decisions about their health and safety; and ensuring adequate protections for vulnerable populations.

The conference summary report was prepared by the Center for Biosecurity's staff to provide a synopsis of the day's panel discussions and individual presentations.

Suggested background readings: