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The Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security

For additional information, please contact Marc Trotochaud at mtrotoc1@jhu.edu.

The Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security is an educational forum to discuss new topics, technologies, and ideas that can improve domestic health security now and in the future. It convenes staff from congressional offices, federal agencies, and the invited public focused on strengthening US health security.

The Steering Committee is sponsored and managed by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Six United States Senators serve as Honorary Senate Co-Chairs, Four United States House of Representatives serve as Honorary House Co-Chairs and 4 former federal government public health leaders serve as Honorary Founding Members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the national and international consequences that deadly infectious disease epidemics can cause. The Steering Committee is a venue to enable critical discussions on non-partisan policy options for improving the United States’ ability to protect Americans from the next health security threat.

The Steering Committee hosts monthly events focused on lessons learned from responses to natural, man-made, and other complex health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to better mitigate and respond to future health crises.

Honorary Senate Co-Chairs

  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Honorary House of Representatives Co-Chairs

  • Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
  • Representative Andy Harris (R-MD)
  • Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC)

Honorary Founding Members

  • Susan Brooks, JD, Former U.S. House of Representative (R-IN)
  • Stephen Redd, MD, Former Deputy Director for Public Health Service and Implementation Science, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rear Admiral Retired, US Public Health Service
  • Kathleen Sebelius, MPA, Former Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services, former Governor of Kansas
  • W. Craig Vanderwagen, MD, Former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rear Admiral Retired, US Public Health Service

 

Upcoming Events

November 17, 2021 at 1pm ET
 

Past Events

October 20, 2021: Combating Misinformation and Disinformation for COVID-19 and Future Public Health Threats

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that accurate and timely health-related information is crucial to mounting an effective response to a public health crisis. Contradictory messaging, misinformation, and undermining of public health experts have reduced the trust in public health responders, increased belief in false medical cures, and politicized public health measures aimed at curbing transmission of the disease. As can be seen in setbacks during the COVID-19 response, health-related misinformation and disinformation can lead to more infections, deaths, disruption, and disorganization of the effort.

This session evaluated the role misinformation has played in health emergencies and offered solutions to increase trust in future public health messaging.

Watch the October 20 webinar.
Read the full transcript from October 20 (PDF).
 

September 22, 2021: This was a closed-door event.
 

June 16, 2021: Global Vaccine Access: Challenges and Opportunities

The development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has captured public attention both in the U.S. and abroad. Decisions around global vaccine distribution are complex and multi-faceted, involving issues relating to equity, vaccine nationalism, and global health security. In this month’s session, speakers evaluated where things stand in terms of global access to vaccines and the urgent need to expedite global vaccine distribution to save lives and reduce the risk that variants pose.

Watch the June 16 webinar.
Read the full transcript from June 16 (PDF).
 

May 26, 2021: U.S. Leadership for a Pandemic-Free Future: Technologies to End Biological Threats

This webinar explored how the federal government can prioritize investments in available and future technologies to ensure nothing like the Covid-19 pandemic, or worse, could ever happen again.

Watch the May 26 webinar.
Read the full transcript from May 26 (PDF).

Relevant resources:
Center for Health Security: Disease X Medical Countermeasure Program
Open Philanthropy Infographic: U.S. Leadership for a Pandemic-Free Future (PDF)
Open Philanthropy Briefing Document: U.S. Leadership for a Pandemic-Free Future, Technologies to end biological threats (PDF)
 

April 28, 2021: Improving the Resilience of U.S. Health Care Systems for Future Pandemics

Hospitals and health care systems are the life force behind an effective pandemic response in the United States. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, these public and private sector institutions experienced staff, supply, and equipment shortages; struggled with providing access to care in rural areas; and lacked data coordination. How can the federal government assist in tackling the problems experienced by these institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic to help them prepare for future pandemics and other health emergencies?

Watch the April 28 webinar.
Read the full transcript from April 28 (PDF).
 

March 30, 2021: Strengthening the Supply Chain for US Pandemic Response: Strategies for Stockpiling, Surge Capacity, and Distribution
The length and intensity of the domestic COVID-19 response has exposed vulnerabilities in the domestic supply capacity for key products needed in a pandemic including personal protective equipment, lab supplies, needles and syringes, and key therapeutic compounds. While we still face supply challenges in our ongoing COVID-19 response, emerging lessons from both the private and public sector can inform new policies and practices that enhance domestic preparedness. Supporting a robust domestic manufacturing and distribution infrastructure for such products will ensure the US is more prepared for future pandemics.

Watch the March 30 webinar.
Read the full transcript from March 30 (PDF).
 

February 24, 2021: Data Driven Public Health Response to Pandemics: Maximizing Disease Surveillance, Genomic Sequencing, and Epidemic Forecasting
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for enhanced disease surveillance capabilities both domestically and abroad. Epidemiological data has been the backbone for the global response to COVID-19. The country’s COVID-19 experience has highlighted gaps in our domestic system and the need to increase our current capacity. The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern with potential for increased transmission have sparked discussion on the need for genomic surveillance, adding to the conversation on what we can be doing as a country now to improve our COVID-19 response. This webinar addressed the current status of domestic disease surveillance and open a dialogue on how we can become better prepared for future public health threats.

Watch the February 24 webinar.
Read the full transcript from February 24 (PDF).
 

January 28, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccination: What is Needed Now to Meet the Needs of the Hardest Hit Populations in the United States
As the largest mass vaccination campaign in recent US history is now underway, the US government and states must play vital roles in boosting confidence in the vaccine, building demand, and meeting the needs of a diverse set of urban, suburban, and rural communities. We discussed how the vaccination campaign is going, what the federal government can do to support a successful immunization effort, and the systems that need to be built for future mass vaccination efforts. 

Watch the January 28 webinar.
 

December 9 2020: Implementation of Mass Vaccination Campaigns in a Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities during COVID-19

In the recent weeks there has been exciting news from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, bolstering hopes that the vaccines will bring the pandemic under control. This session focused on the implementation of mass vaccination programs. We discussed the challenges and opportunities at the local, state and national levels to maximize the effectiveness and equity of the impending COVID-19 vaccination effort. 

Watch the December 9 webinar.
Read the full transcript from December 9 (PDF).
 

November 17, 2020: Navigating a Pandemic: The Strategic Role and Future Development of Diagnostic Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented public health and economic crises. Tests for the presence of infection are critical to measure the spread of disease and to control epidemics in communities. This pandemic has revealed several gaps in diagnostic testing. We must leverage these lessons to improve ongoing response efforts and to better prepare for future pandemics. Looking toward the future, in this event we considered:

  • What if we were able to more quickly develop tests for novel pathogens, like SARS-CoV-2?
  • How would reliable at-home testing change the way public health addressed outbreaks?
  • What technologies could improve the current paradigm of the diagnostic system?

Watch the November 17 webinar.
 

October 7, 2020: Virtual Launch of the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security
The United States’ continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the nation’s health security capabilities. As the US continues to respond to this herculean challenge, the new Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security will provide an educational forum to discuss new topics, technologies, and ideas that could improve domestic health security now and in the future.

The launch event, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, featured a discussion with the Honorary Senate Co-chairs and the Steering Committee’s Honorary Founding Members, leaders who have spent decades improving US health security.

Watch the October 7 webinar.

 

From our Co-Chairs

“There is nothing more important than our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. That’s why, for nearly two decades, I’ve made it a priority to establish a modern framework that brings together the private and public sectors to address pandemics and other public health threats. I’m honored to be chosen to serve as the Co-Chair of this critical committee. I look forward to working with these professionals to ensure our nation stays vigilant against a full range of threats.”

– U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)

“As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, our Nation is coming to understand how important it is to prepare for public health emergencies. Congress has a responsibility to strengthen our policies, and craft new ones, to prevent another pandemic of this horrific scale, and that will take further bipartisan cooperation. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the members of the Steering Committee to develop meaningful, bipartisan policies to support public health preparedness and response efforts at every level of government that will address the impact of COVID-19 and better prepare us for future public health threats.”

- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a wakeup call for everyone. The health and economic hardships caused by the coronavirus have been harsh, but the pandemic must also teach us lessons on how to better prepare for future disasters. This distinguished Steering Committee will help keep us focused on those goals even as this crisis fades."

- U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is jeopardizing the health and economic security of millions of individuals and families across our country. I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the work of scientists and public health professionals. Science and public health can and should drive our response to this crisis, and inform our efforts to better prepare for the future. I’m honored to serve as one of the Co-Chairs of this Steering Committee, and I look forward to advancing efforts that will help us prepare for the future, and protect our nation’s public health, national security and economic growth."

– U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

 

 

Our Mission

To protect people’s health from epidemics and disasters and ensure that communities are resilient to major challenges.