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Congress Should Enhance Domestic, Global Health Security Through Reauthorization Of Pandemic And All Hazards Preparedness Act

The Hill: Do we want another Spanish influenza epidemic? Reauthorizing Preparedness Act could prevent it
Jeffrey S. Duchin, representative of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, health officer for Public Health — Seattle and King County, and professor at the University of Washington

“…Established in 1951 as a response to the threat of biological warfare, [the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS)] has continued to protect national and global health security. … Over the last decade, however, cuts in funding for hospital and public health programs have diminished resources and capacities to identify and contain infectious disease outbreaks. Rising costs of graduate medical education, combined with disparities between public sector and private salaries for physicians have resulted in fewer physicians applying to the EIS fellowship program. … Fortunately, challenges to the future EIS workforce can be addressed in the upcoming congressional reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) in which Congress can reinstate CDC’s loan repayment authority and conform the commitment to CDC employment to the term of current fellowship programs. … In its funding bill for fiscal year 2018, Congress has already shown recognition of the need to strengthen our public health infrastructure. The next step is to support the work force needed by providing loan repayment” (4/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.