Skip to main content

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE (ASPR)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is a leader in preparing the nation and its communities to respond to and recover from public health and medical disasters and emergencies. ASPR focuses on preparedness planning and response; building federal emergency medical operational capabilities; countermeasures research, advanced development, and procurement; and grants to strengthen the capabilities of hospitals and health care systems to minimize the health impacts of disasters and public health emergencies. The office provides federal support, including medical professionals through the National Disaster Medical System, to augment state and local capabilities during an emergency or disaster.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

ASPR leads the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), which coordinates the full spectrum of federal medical countermeasure activities that enhance the nation's preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats and emerging infectious diseases (including pandemic influenza).

ASPR plays a critical role in many of the PHEMCE mission components. ASPR's Office of Policy and Planning (OPP) leads the requirements-setting process with engagement from all PHEMCE partners and utilizes expert input, including medical consequence and public health response assessments. ASPR also supports the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in conducting Material Threat Assessments.

Within the PHEMCE, ASPR's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) leads the advanced development and scale-up of manufacturing capacity for medical countermeasures that would be used by civilians, including promoting partnerships with developers and manufacturers.

ASPR operations offices provide oversight and operational support to the ASPR in the planning and management of public health response programs. The Office of Acquisitions Management, Contracts and Grants (AMCG) supports acquisitions and grants management, strategy development, and tracking assistance. AMCG also developed and provides the ASPR Business Toolkit, a support and assistance guide for companies responding to a solicitation for funding from ASPR.

Within the PHEMCE, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASPR/BARDA have lead roles in procuring medical countermeasures for stockpiling. ASPR/BARDA procures certain medical countermeasures for the Strategic National Stockpile using the Special Reserve Fund authorized under the Project BioShield Act of 2004.

ASPR's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is beginning to synchronize its All Hazards planning with the requirements-setting process and is developing ways to incorporate the medical consequence and public health response assessments into the development of their plans. Additionally, OEM coordinates with PHEMCE and BARDA by developing Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Nuclear (CBRN) clinical guidance for end users and providing CBRN operational and scientific subject matter expertise to the requirement setting working groups and medical countermeasure development selection and progress reviews.

ASPR coordinates with CDC on the development of federal response plans, policy, guidance, and communication, and development of clinical utilization and allocation strategies as appropriate for medical countermeasures and assets.

ASPR and CDC also coordinate interactions with state, local, tribal, territorial, and private entities to provide timely and effective deployment, distribution, dispensing, and administration of medical countermeasures in an emergency.