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New Congress, Administration Should Develop National Biodefense Strategy, Implementation Plan

The Hill: Congress needs to act now to prevent another biodisaster like anthrax, Zika
Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and Ellen P. Carlin, senior health and policy adviser for EcoHealth Alliance

“In December, [President Obama] signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). … Tucked among the nearly 1,000 pages of this year’s bill is a critical provision that implements a major recommendation of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense: the development of a strategy and implementation plan for national biodefense. … For the new administration and Congress, the NDAA provides an opportunity for a fresh look at our biodefense challenges. It can serve as a catalyst for a clear roadmap for interagency collaboration as well as better leveraging of the private sector, where most of our innovations and technological solutions will come from. We should all pay close attention to the report that comes from this legislation and the briefings that accompany this process. Congress and the new administration have an opportunity to accomplish what other administrations have been striving to do: to create a comprehensive national biodefense system that harnesses private sector ingenuity and government leadership to protect all Americans from 21st Century biothreats” (1/30).

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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.