academic-healthrsEvery day our staff works with local public health and healthcare partners to prepare for and respond to all kinds of public health threats. Looking back at 2015, we addressed infectious disease threats like Ebola, measles, chikungunya, and Salmonella; environmental threats like wildfires, monsoons, and floods; and potential health security threats at Superbowl XLIX. This work requires partnership across many areas of the department and between multiple agencies statewide. It also illustrates the need for our ongoing planning, training, and preparedness efforts.

The CDC monitors performance on public health preparedness activities annually. This week, the CDC released the 2016 National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness, which gives an overview of every state’s ability to carry out key public health capabilities during a disaster. Arizona received outstanding marks again this year.

Arizona scores for laboratory testing continue to exceed the national targets, demonstrating our lab’s ability to rapidly identify dangerous chemical and biological agents in order to minimize the threat to the public. We also surpassed national targets (and performance) for emergency operations coordination, which means our emergency response teams can rapidly convene to respond to public health emergencies. The state’s ability to receive and distribute disaster medications and supplies has also improved steadily over the last several years, thanks to hard work and detailed planning and training at the state and local level.

To see how Arizona excels in preparing for public health emergencies, view this year’s National Snapshot. The report also includes some really interesting tidbits on national public health preparedness activities, staffing, and funding. You can also make sure you and your family are prepared for emergencies by visiting Just in Case Arizona for tips on how to create your own preparedness plan.