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Office of Medicine, Science, and Public Health

The Office of Medicine, Science and Public Health (OMSPH) is responsible for providing leadership, coordination, and subject matter expertise on the medical, scientific, research, and public health aspects of emergency preparedness and response for ASPR.  OMSPH carries out this work by a) organizing and leading technical and policy advisory groups; b) commissioning studies; c) conducting policy and scientific analysis and providing recommendations; d) providing subject matter experts to key organizations; e) issuing grants and cooperative agreements; and f) building and maintaining partnerships and collaborative relationships with key groups in the scientific, research, nonprofit, commercial, governmental and international arenas.

OMSPH is responsible for facilitating two Federal Advisory Committees.  The first of these, the National Biodefense Science Board, is charged with providing expert advice to the Secretary of HHS on scientific, technical, or other matters of special interest to HHS regarding current and future threats posed by naturally-occurring infectious diseases and the accidental or deliberate release of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents.  The second is the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) whose charge is to “provide advice, guidance, and leadership regarding biosecurity oversight of dual use research, defined as biological research with legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a biological threat to public health and/or national security.”  OMSPH serves as the liaison between the Assistant Secretary and this board and is a non-voting HHS ex officio member of the board. 

OMSPH coordinates the development of policy regarding access to unapproved medical products in the U.S. that must be made available on an emergency basis as medical countermeasures to counteract naturally-occurring infectious diseases or the accidental or deliberate release of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents.  The Office carries out special scientific and public health oriented projects directly, and works with others to establish activities, programs, and standards to protect the public from bioterrorism and naturally-occurring infectious disease threats. 

OMSPH serves as the focal point in ASPR for all international activities related to public health emergency preparedness and response.  OMSPH works with other nations and multilateral organizations in combating public health threats by establishing bilateral and multilateral international partnerships.  Examples include OMSPH’s engagement with the Biological Weapons Convention, the Global Health Security Action Group (GHSAG), and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). 

OMSPH coordinates ASPR’s overall influenza pandemic efforts and works closely with other HHS components (e.g., CDC, NIH, and FDA), the Department of State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and others to ensure that pandemic influenza programs and initiatives are as effective as possible.  Additionally, OMSPH is responsible for coordinating the U.S. Government’s implementation of and compliance with the WHO’s revised International Health Regulations (IHRs), which went into effect in July 2007. 

OMSPH also serves as the HHS lead for developing, reviewing, and exercising policies and operational plans related to HHS' emergency response to major international public health events.  The Office is the principal liaison to the Department of State and other U.S. Government departments and agencies that require U.S. Government assistance in responding to public health and medical emergencies internationally.  OMSPH is also the HHS lead for Reconstruction and Stabilization initiatives, and coordinates international emergency response-focused training, exercises, and the collection of lessons learned for HHS.