Some of the nation’s top health security experts delivered a blunt message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week: It costs a lot less to adequately fund prevention and preparedness programs up front than it does to respond when a disease outbreak turns into a crisis.
“Investing in preparedness before an emergency reduces the cost of response,” Paul Petersen, director of the Emergency Preparedness Program at the State of Tennessee Department of Health, said, noting that state and local public health departments are uniquely positioned to respond first in the event of a crisis.
Peterson was joined at the congressional seminar by experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, other local public health officials, and NTI’s senior director for global biological policy and programs, Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Cameron. The event was sponsored by Hopkins and the non-profit, non-partisan Trust for America’s Health.
Crystal Watson, a senior associate at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the administration’s proposed health security funding levels for fiscal year 2018 represent a 9% overall reduction, including a 2% reduction for radiological and nuclear security.