Burr Applauds Senate Confirmation of Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Official

Key position created by Burr’s legislation last year

WASHINGTON, DC --- U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) applauded the Senate for confirming Dr. Craig Vanderwagen to be the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will be responsible for ensuring our federal public health and medical responses to disasters are faster and better coordinated, and for accelerating the advanced research and development of medical countermeasures. The position was created in Burr's bioterrorism bill the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (Public Law 109-417).

"I applaud my Senate colleagues for confirming Dr. Craig Vanderwagen as the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. It is important this critical leadership position is filled so we can begin to implement the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act passed last year.

We learned from Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 that we must do more to improve our public health and medical preparedness and response systems for future disasters. We must also ensure more and better medical countermeasures are produced faster to protect the American people from threat agents.

Dr. Vanderwagen is well-qualified and has a proven track record of leadership during emergency response situations."

RADM W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., was appointed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, Upper Half, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) in July 2006. He now serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Chief Preparedness Officer. In this position, he is the Secretary's principal advisor on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. The mission of his office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and reducing the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.

RADM Vanderwagen has significant public health emergency and disaster response experience. Most recently, he was the Deputy Secretary's Special Assistant for Preparedness and led the teams who implemented changes at HHS recommended in the White House Report, Katrina Lessons Learned. In addition RADM Vanderwagen was the senior federal health official in the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana; led the public health team deployed on USNS Mercy to Indonesia to assist in the 2005 tsunami recovery; served as the Chief of Public Health for the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Ministry of Health in Iraq; and directed a portion of health care provided to Kosovar refugees during the 1999 Balkans conflict.

His federal career began with the Indian Health Service Albuquerque Area Office as a USPHS General Medical Officer at the Zuni Indian Hospital. RADM Vanderwagen also served as the IHS Office of Clinical and Preventive Services Director. He was responsible for the full scope of clinical health care programs, including quality assurance and preventive programs for 49 IHS hospitals, hundreds of clinics and health stations.

In support of the Surgeon General, RADM Vanderwagen served as the USPHS Chief Professional Officer for the Medical Category of the Commissioned Officers Corps. He provided guidance and advice on matters such as recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development for more than 1,300 USPHS physicians.

RADM Vanderwagen is a board-certified family physician. He is published in several medical journals covering family practice, including, Medical Education, Children Today, and Hospital and Community Psychiatry.

RADM Vanderwagen and his wife Suzanne have three grown sons.

For more information go to https://www.burr.senate.gov

# # #