Skip to main content

Emergency Response

Civilian Response Corps

In responding to global health emergencies, public health professionals from the Department of Health and Human Services participate in the U.S. Civilian Response Corps (CRC). The CRC is made up of interagency teams with members from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, State, Transportation, and USAID. HHS employees contribute expertise in areas such as health infrastructure, health policy, emergency planning and response, health education, risk communication and delivery of care. These health-related services are provided in the context of CRC's overall focus areas that include planning and management, the rule of law, governance, essential services, economic recovery, and ensuring the security of U.S. deployed personnel. 

Examples of CRC activities with HHS CRC member participation include disaster planning and response in Kenya, interagency planning with Afghanistan, earthquake relief in Haiti, and conflict assessment and mitigation in Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Central African Republic.

Global Health Security Initiative

The Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) is an international partnership created to strengthen global health preparedness and response for the threats of biological, chemical, radio-nuclear terrorism (CBRN) and pandemic influenza. It was launched in November 2001 by the Ministers/Secretaries of Health of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, México, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Health Commissioner of the European Union. The World Health Organization (WHO) serves as an expert advisor to the GHSI. A Ministerial-level summit is held every year to share information and coordinate efforts to improve global health security.
GHSI develops and implements activities through the following Working Groups:

  • Risk Management and Communications Working Group
  • Pandemic Influenza Working Group
  • Chemical Events Working Group
  • Global Health Security Laboratory Network Working Group
  • Radiological/Nuclear Threats Working Group

back to top

Infectious Disease Surveillance

U.S. Border States Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS Project):

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the U.S. Border State Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS) Project in 2003 to enhance the ability of border jurisdictions to rapidly detect outbreaks. The project works to improve cross-border early warning of infectious diseases, whether natural or bioterrorism. The EWIDS-México project started in 2006 with similar goals.

The ultimate goals of both EWIDS projects are:

  • To develop and implement a cross-border, interoperable, disease tracking system designed to rapidly detect illness resulting from exposure to a bioterrorist threat agent or other emerging infectious disease of urgent public health consequence
  • To enable trans-border capabilities for detection, identification, reporting, and launching of cross-border investigations for infectious disease outbreaks
  • To share clinical, laboratory and epidemiological information electronically with public health officials in neighboring jurisdictions, and
  • To train public health personnel in surveillance and epidemiology-related activities.

back to top

back to top

Learn More

For additional information about emergency response, visit the Public Health Emergency website. You can also write to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response 
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 638G
Washington, D.C. 20201

back to top