Who should receive care first, an ethical dilemma

At greater disparities between low resources and high volumes of sick people, doctors must decide who lives and who dies, which seems a moral burden with a single case, much less anything more. So systems are setup to relieve some of that pressure. For Reuters, Feilding Cage uses clear illustrations to describe possible policies to help healthcare workers decide who receives care first.

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APHL and Partners Urge Emergency Funding to Bolster Novel Coronavirus Response

US Capitol Building

Contact: Michelle Forman, 240.485.2793

Silver Spring, MD — In a letter to the White House and Congress, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and partners today requested supplemental appropriations to expand and strengthen public health capacity and coordination in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“While it is too early to reliably predict the additional cost burden and supplemental needs of the COVID-19 response … we anticipate that an initial supplemental is warranted to respond to public health agencies’ critical need to rapidly detect changes and control the outbreak,” the organizations wrote.

The groups outline several urgent priorities, including funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support preparedness and response activities; an appropriation for the relevant offices and programs under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund; and authority to reimburse uncompensated care for state and local costs, including obtaining and maintaining quarantine and isolation housing capacity and providing wraparound services.

“We are in the midst of a developing public health emergency,” said Scott Becker, CEO of APHL. “Our request identifies initial needs to bolster our response, but it is likely only the start. Public health laboratories and other critical agencies will need sustained funding to address this growing challenge and other public health threats.”

The letter was signed by APHL, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

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The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at www.aphl.org.


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APHL: Engaging for change in emergency diagnostics

APHL: Engaging for change in emergency diagnostics | www.APHLblog.org

The process for developing and deploying emergency diagnostics to laboratories nationwide will now be more efficient. A new entity, the Tri-Agency Task Force for Emergency Diagnostics, has brought together representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to coordinate systems for rapid delivery of tests, reagents and guidance to public health and clinical laboratories.

APHL contributed to the development of the Task Force by communicating the potential value of such a mechanism. Beginning in the early months of the 2016 Zika pandemic and continuing long after, the association and its member laboratories engaged federal partners in a dialog around systems for cross-agency coordination of emergency diagnostics.

“The federal partners recognized that instead of relying on APHL to coordinate communications during a crisis, having a more permanent solution in place would be more effective,” explains Peter Kyriacopoulos, senior director of public policy at APHL. “With CDC taking the lead, the Tri-Agency Task Force for Emergency Diagnostics has been established. Whenever the next disease comes along, this group will be ready to get to work.”

Kelly Wroblewski, APHL’s infectious disease director, adds that the Task Force makes communication more routine. “Having communication channels already open will make it easier to get the response going as quickly and efficiently as possible,” she says.

Since 2016, the threat of Zika has subsided. In 2017 and 2018, there wasn’t another outbreak, but Zika will likely come back. But this time, the public health community will be ready.

“With the Tri-Agency Task Force in place, we’re much better off than we were in 2016,” says Kyriacopoulos. “Other improvements, like more efficient ways to send data electronically, are still needed. But the systems we had and the new ones we’ve introduced have strengthened communication and coordination.”

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How to make an impact in science policy as a graduate student

0000-0002-8715-2896 With a lack of scientists in the Executive Branch and a growing national sentiment to include science in policymaking, now is better than ever to get involved with science policy as an early career

The secret, hidden pricetag on your cola bottle

0000-0002-8715-28960000-0002-1767-4576 The line at the convenience store is three people deep. Standing in front of me is a 40-something man with a bottle of cola and a newspaper. In front of him, a mother paying

Slice of PLOS: Psychedelics in the Lab and Clinic: Making Up for Lost Time

0000-0002-8715-2896 Slice of PLOS: Psychedelics in the Lab and Clinic: Making Up for Lost Time   post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above Nearly 50 years ago, psychiatrists lost access to one of the most promising tools

Protocols: The Devil is in the Details

0000-0002-8715-2896 Protocols: The Devil is in the Details   Posted May 3, 2017 by Emma Ganley in Announcement, Biology, Data, Debate, Editorial policy, News, Open access, PLOS Biology, Policy, Publishing, Resources, Video post-info AddThis Sharing

Combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases: Much Progress, but Millions of Neglected Patients Lack Access to Care

0000-0002-8715-2896 Combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases: Much Progress, but Millions of Neglected Patients Lack Access to Care   post-info AddThis Sharing Buttons above Julien Potet of Médecins Sans Frontières discusses recent successes and presents suggestions for the next

Lab Culture Ep. 1: Critical Consequences

Lab Culture Ep. 1: Critical Consequences | www.APHLblog.org

Did you know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) includes critical public health funding? What would the repeal of the ACA mean for public health? Peter Kyriacopoulos, APHL’s senior director of public policy, talks about the CDC-managed Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) program, a source of crosscutting support for public health laboratories funded under the ACA through the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).

Download or stream APHL’s new podcast, Lab Culture, Ep. 1: Critical Consequences.


ELC Program: Essential Funding for Public Health Lab Response (APHL.org)

Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement (CDC.gov)

Critical Public Health Fund Would Be Lost With ACA Repeal

Find your State or Territorial Health Official

Find your US Senators

Find your US Representative

Peter Kyriacopoulos on Twitter


@APHL on Twitter

APHL on Facebook



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Preparing for Emergencies: A Legal Perspective

Midsection of male judge signing contract paper at desk

Whether it’s taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle, preventing diseases, or preparing for an emergency or natural disaster, public law is an important tool to promote and protect public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) develops legal tools and provides technical assistance to public health colleagues and policymakers to help keep their communities safer and healthier.

Emergency preparedness is one of the most important topics PHLP covers. Most emergency response systems are based on laws that regulate when and how state, tribal, local, territorial, and federal entities can engage in an emergency response. The legal nuances are often complicated and easy to miss. PHLP offers resources and training to empower state, tribal, local, and territorial communities to better understand, prepare, and respond to public health emergencies. Together, public health and public health law can protect people from harm and help communities better prepare for disasters.

For the past 16 years, PHLP has helped public health practitioners respond quickly—and with the right legal resources—in times of crisis. PHLP’s work can be divided into two main areas: PHLP’s research initiative and the program’s workforce development activities. Through its research initiative, PHLP conducts legal research using legal epidemiology research principles. PHLP’s research looks at various critical issues to interpret how the law plays a role in diseases and injuries affecting the entire country, and examines specific topics in state and local jurisdictions.

Gregory Sunshine presenting at a CDC TedMed talk
Gregory Sunshine, JD, a legal analyst at CDC, describes the role the agency plays in our public health and legal systems and explains how this affected state Ebola monitoring and movement protocols.

PHLP’s training helps health officials learn what they need to know to prepare for an emergency and what the law allows. In 2015, staff went on a legal preparedness “roadshow,” training more than 500 people in 11 different states in just a few short months. This training showed participants how to recognize legal issues that arise during public health emergencies, offered tools for planning and implementing effective law-based strategies during an emergency, and provided an opportunity to exercise their knowledge through a fictional response scenario.

PHLP also offers emergency response support for specific emergencies. During a public health emergency, such as the Ebola epidemic, PHLP helps partners use the law to stay ahead of quickly evolving situations. After the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States on October 11, 2014, enhanced entry screening was implemented in five airports, which is allowed by law to protect Americans’ health. The enhanced entry screening was implemented to help identify and monitor travelers from countries with Ebola outbreaks who could have been exposed to the disease or who had signs or symptoms of Ebola.

Stakeholders were concerned that variations in how each state monitored and controlled the movement of travelers from countries with Ebola outbreaks could cause confusion, so PHLP staff published the State Ebola Screening and Monitoring Policies on its website so travelers could access them in one easy location. This information helped people who were considering working in West Africa understand what the requirements might be after they returned home. Similar to what was done during the Ebola outbreak, the program recently published an analysis of emergency declarations and orders related to the West Nile virus as part of CDC’s response to the 2016 Zika outbreak.

PHLP helps public health partners across America answer legal questions on many emergency preparedness and response topics. Through legal research, trainings, and publishing of the latest information, PHLP is always ready to help their partners understand how to use law to protect the health and safety of the public. People interested in learning more about PHLP can visit PHLP’s website. For regular updates on public health law topics, including legal preparedness, subscribe to CDC’s Public Health Law News.

Link to TedMed Video: http://www.cdc.gov/phlp/videos/tedmed-ebola.html