Senator Richard Burr: “We must act now to improve our public health system.”

Washington, D.C. - At a Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness roundtable, Senator Richard Burr today renewed his call for improvements to our public health infrastructure.

The roundtable, entitled Public Health Preparedness in the 21st Century, studied how to further develop public health systems and recruit, train, and retain a prepared public health workforce able to respond to national threats, be they accidental, deliberate or naturally occurring.

"We must act now to improve our public health system," Senator Burr stated. "Hurricane Katrina exposed an imperfect public health infrastructure - at all levels of government - during an emergency event. The public health system I envision for the 21st Century is a strong partnership between the federal, state, and local governments, and is flexible in preparing for and responding to disasters, such as Katrina."

"The response to disasters begins at the local level. We must ensure every local public health department has the capacity to protect the health of its citizens, and that federal resources are available and well-coordinated when needed," Senator Burr added.

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 will expire on September 30, 2006. This law enhanced our ability to detect bioterrorist attacks, strengthened the communications networks that link our health care providers with public health authorities and strengthened the ability of our health care system to increase care provided in an emergency.

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

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