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Our publications keep professionals informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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Mpox Considerations for the Radiology Nurse

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Journal of Radiology Nursing
Publication Type
Article

On July 23, 2022, the Director General of the World Health Organization declared a multicountry outbreak of mpox disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since this declaration, there have been thousands of cases detected in the United States. Although the outbreak has now waned, the virus is likely to continue transmitting at low levels across the United States among high-risk populations. Thus, it is critical for radiology nurses to be able to recognize mpox disease within the inpatient and outpatient settings, so that proper infection prevention and control precautions can be adhered to and so that patients can be referred for treatment.

Authors
Dominique Guillaume

How Infectious Disease Experts Impacted the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response: Lessons From the Front Lines

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Clinical Infectious Diseases
Publication Type
Article

In this article, we summarize findings from research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Infectious Diseases Society of America to understand infectious disease (ID) workforce contributions to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and their impacts. ID experts were found to have made diverse and unique contributions that went well beyond their usual responsibilities, with many spending several hours a week on these activities without additional compensation. These efforts were thought to not only build community resilience but also augment the ongoing public health response. Respondents also reported several hospital and clinical leadership roles taken on during the pandemic, such as developing protocols and leading clinical trials. We also make several policy recommendations, such as medical student debt relief and improved compensation, that will be needed to help fortify the ID workforce for future pandemics.

Authors
Daniel P. McQuillen

High Primary COVID-19 Vaccine Series Completion by People Who Inject Drugs When Colocating Services at a Syringe Services Van

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Journal of Addiction Medicine
Publication Type
Article

Objective
The aim of the study is to describe the impact of colocating COVID-19 vaccinations with local syringe service programs on vaccine completion among people who inject drugs.

Methods
Data were derived from 6 community-based clinics. People who inject drugs who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine from a colocated clinic partnering with a local syringe service program were included in the study. Vaccine completion was abstracted from electronic medical records; additional vaccinations were abstracted using health information exchanges embedded within the electronic medical records.

Results
Overall, 142 individuals with a mean age of 51 years, predominantly male (72%) and Black, non-Hispanic (79%) received COVID-19 vaccines. More than half elected to receive a 2-dose mRNA vaccine (51.4%). Eighty-five percent completed a primary series, and 71% of those who received a mRNA vaccine completed the 2-dose series. Booster uptake was 34% in those completing a primary series.

Conclusions
Colocated clinics are an effective means of reaching vulnerable populations. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and need for annual booster vaccines arises, it is important to bolster public support and funding to continue low-barrier preventive clinics colocated with harm reduction services for this population.

Authors
Omeid Heidari
Katie J. O’Conor
Victoria Cargill
Kelly Lowensen
Jason E. Farley

In-home healthcare worker COVID-19 vaccination awareness, access, and acceptability—An online focus group study

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Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Publication Type
Letter

The home healthcare worker is a unique, under-represented subgroup in healthcare research. Based on labor statistics, 87% are female and 39% lack affordable housing. Just over 50% receive some kind of public assistance and most do not have a college degree. Home healthcare workers are racially diverse and earn relatively low wages.1 This population has high levels of vaccine hesitancy, yet close interaction with potentially at-risk individuals.2, 3

A constellation of factors related to confidence, complacency, and convenience affect vaccine hesitancy.4 Innovative countermeasures that engage, educate, and empower diverse populations with varied beliefs, life circumstances, and means of engaging with media are needed.5 Personalized persuasion has proven to be effective means of motivating behavioral change,6 but requires a thorough understanding of sub-populations. Political discord and social divides heighten the need for highly tailored communications.7

We aimed to understand underlying motivations and/or behavioral inhibitions of the home healthcare population to support proactive public health outreach campaigns, and aid responses in future health crises. This study was conducted in accordance with Johns Hopkins University's Institutional Review Board.

Authors
Jennifer A. B. McKneely

Infectious diseases experts: America's Link Back to Everyday Life

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Infectious Diseases Society of America
Publication Type
Report

This report — a joint collaborative effort between the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security — captures just how valuable infectious diseases professionals are to America’s health care system and society and sheds light on critical policies needed to ensure they are well positioned to help America for decades to come. We invite you to learn more.

Authors
Amanda Jezek

The COVID-19 Nursing Workforce Crisis: Implications for National Health Security

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Health Security
Publication Type
Article

The US nursing workforce crisis represents a danger to the quality and safety of patient care and an imminent threat to the nation's health security. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a range of perversities related to the nursing profession, including the inequitable financing and compensation of the nursing workforce, lack of workplace protections, and the perception that nursing is a subservient profession. It has also exacerbated workforce issues that predated the pandemic, leading to physical and mental exhaustion, lack of trust and perceptions of betrayal by hospital leaders, and moral injury and burnout. Nurses are critical to the sustainability of the US healthcare system, to the health of communities, and to the ability of the nation to respond to health security threats, including pandemics, natural disasters, and other large-scale emergencies. In the absence of an adequate labor supply of nurses, healthcare services are substantially degraded, hindering the country's ability to respond to emergencies and ultimately putting patients at risk.

Authors
Cynda Hylton Rushton
Sarah Schneider-Firestone
Rebecca Wiseman

COVID-19 Vaccination and Communicable Disease Testing Services’ Integration Within a Syringe Services Program

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Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Publication Type
Article

People who inject drugs often have a higher prevalence of risk factors associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and associated morbidity and mortality, compounded by challenges in health care access. This increased vulnerability underscores the critical need to prioritize people who inject drug in ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Co-location of syringe services, COVID-19 vaccination services, and other communicable disease testing has proved an effective model to provide necessary interventions without creating additional barriers. Here, we describe a partnership between the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Mobile Vaccine Unit, and the Center for Infectious Disease and Nursing Innovation at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing to provide COVID-19 vaccination, HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing, wound care, and linkage to care services co-located with a long-running syringe services program. We describe the services offered by each partner and lessons learned from this community-based co-location of services initiative.

Authors
Omeid Heidari
Katie J. O’Conor
Victoria Cargill
Michelle Patch
Jason E. Farley
GHS Index 2021 cover

Global Health Security (GHS) Index 2021 | Advancing Collective Action and Accountability Amid Global Crisis

Publication Type
Report

The 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index finds that despite significant steps taken by countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, all countries remain dangerously unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats. Importantly, countries now have a more acute understanding of what this lack of preparedness means for their health and prosperity. This understanding presents an opportunity to convert high levels of political awareness about pandemics to long-term gains in preparedness by sustaining newly developed tools and building out additional capacities to better protect lives and livelihoods against the next pandemic.

Much is at stake. Countries continue to suffer harm from the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of insufficient health security capacity. This lack of capacity comes at a time when political and security risks have increased in nearly all countries, and enduring financial investment necessary to sustain capacities has yet to be demonstrated. Such weaknesses leave a world acutely vulnerable to future health emergencies, including those potentially more devastating than COVID-19.

These are sobering conclusions revealed by the 2021 GHS Index. With data captured during a period when countries wrestled with COVID-19,1 researchers used a revised framework and updated data collection to glean hard truths about pandemic preparedness while assessing and benchmarking health security capacities across 195 countries.2

 

Authors
Jessica Bell
Nellie Bristol
Gabrielle Essix
Christopher Isaac
Sophie M. Rose

Identification and evaluation of epidemic prediction and forecasting reporting guidelines: A systematic review and a call for action

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Epidemics
Publication Type
Article

High quality epidemic forecasting and prediction are critical to support response to local, regional and global infectious disease threats. Other fields of biomedical research use consensus reporting guidelines to ensure standardization and quality of research practice among researchers, and to provide a framework for end-users to interpret the validity of study results. The purpose of this study was to determine whether guidelines exist specifically for epidemic forecast and prediction publications.

Authors
Simon Pollett
Michael A. Johansson
Matthew Biggerstaff
Lindsay C. Morton
Sara L. Bazacod
David Brett-Major
Cecile Viboud
et al.

A Public Health Systems View of Risk Communication About Zika

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Public Health Reports
Publication Type
Article

The spread of Zika virus throughout Latin America and parts of the United States in 2016 and 2017 presented a challenge to public health communicators. The objective of our study was to describe emergency risk communication practices during the 2016-2017 Zika outbreak to inform future infectious disease communication efforts.

Authors
Laura E. Pechta
Dale A. Rose
Keri M. Lubell
Michelle N. Podgornik

Preparedness and response to an emerging health threat—Lessons learned from Candida auris outbreaks in the United States

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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Publication Type
Article
Candida auris infections continue to occur across the United States and abroad, and healthcare facilities that care for vulnerable populations must improve their readiness to respond to this emerging organism. We aimed to identify and better understand challenges faced and lessons learned by those healthcare facilities who have experienced C. auris cases and outbreaks to better prepare those who have yet to experience or respond to this pathogen.
Authors
Syra Madad
Priya Dhagat

A US metropolitan county health department’s response to a measles outbreak in a childcare facility – challenges faced and lessons learned

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Perspectives in Public Health
Publication Type
Article

In 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the largest number of measles cases since 1992. Thirty-one states reported a total of 1282 cases.1 Rising measles incidence increases the likelihood that state and local health departments across the US will have to respond to an outbreak of this disease in the future.

Authors
Marc Trotochaud
Lisa Ferguson
Jennifer Vines
Russell Barlow

The value proposition of the Global Health Security Index

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BMJ Global Health
Publication Type
Article

Infectious disease outbreaks pose major threats to human health and security. Countries with robust capacities for preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks can avert many of the social, political, economic and health system costs of such crises. The Global Health Security Index (GHS Index)—the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries—recently found that no country is sufficiently prepared for epidemics or pandemics. The GHS Index can help health security stakeholders identify areas of weakness, as well as opportunities to collaborate across sectors, collectively strengthen health systems and achieve shared public health goals. Some scholars have recently offered constructive critiques of the GHS Index’s approach to scoring and ranking countries; its weighting of select indicators; its emphasis on transparency; its focus on biosecurity and biosafety capacities; and divergence between select country scores and corresponding COVID-19-associated caseloads, morbidity, and mortality. Here, we (1) describe the practical value of the GHS Index; (2) present potential use cases to help policymakers and practitioners maximise the utility of the tool; (3) discuss the importance of scoring and ranking; (4) describe the robust methodology underpinning country scores and ranks; (5) highlight the GHS Index’s emphasis on transparency and (6) articulate caveats for users wishing to use GHS Index data in health security research, policymaking and practice.

Authors
Lane Warmbrod
Elizabeth E. Cameron
Jessica Bell
Priya Bapat
Michael Paterra
Catherine Machalaba
Indira Nath
Lawrence O. Gostin
Wilmot James
Dylan George
Simo Nikkari
Ernesto Gozzer
Oyewale Tomori
Issa Makumbi
Report cover for Interim Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution in the United States

Interim Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution in the United States

Publication Type
Report

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue for the foreseeable future, but widespread vaccination could hasten its end. At least 165 candidate vaccines for the SARS CoV-2 virus are in development around the world and there is hope that one or more of these candidates will soon be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective to achieve emergency use authorization in the United States. When a vaccine has been authorized for use, it will initially be in limited supply. During this period of scarcity, a plan is needed for how to allocate and distribute the limited supply—which groups should be prioritized to receive the vaccine first and which groups can wait until later. This difficult and potentially contentious topic is being actively discussed in the United States by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), as well as globally at the World Health Organization (WHO) and elsewhere. The purpose of this report is to offer an additional ethics framework for use in making decisions about allocation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine during this initial period of scarcity in the United States and make related suggestions about vaccine distribution. Our approach takes into account considerations of medical risk, public health, ethics and equity, economic impact, and logistics. We note where our approach aligns or differs from the 2018 CDC guidance for vaccine allocation in a severe influenza pandemic, which is the most recent pandemic vaccine guidance from the US government.

Authors
Carleigh Krubiner
Justin Bernstein
Matthew Watson
Divya Hosangadi
Nancy Connell
Elizabeth L Daugherty-Biddison
Alan Regenberg

A checklist to improve health system resilience to infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards

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BMJ Global Health
Publication Type
Article

Recent infectious disease outbreaks, including the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have demonstrated the critical importance of resilient health systems in safeguarding global health security. Importantly, the human, economic and political tolls of these crises are being amplified by health systems’ inabilities to respond quickly and effectively. Improving resilience within health systems can build on pre-existing strengths to enhance the readiness of health system actors to respond to crises, while also maintaining core functions. Using data gathered from a scoping literature review, interviews with key informants and from stakeholders who attended a workshop held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we developed a Health System Resilience Checklist (‘the checklist’). The aim of the checklist is to measure the specific capacities, capabilities and processes that health systems need in order to ensure resilience in the face of both infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards. The checklist is intended to be adapted and used in a broad set of countries as a component of ongoing processes to ensure that health actors, institutions and populations can mount an effective response to infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards while also maintaining core healthcare services. The checklist is an important first step in improving health system resilience to these threats, but additional research and resources will be necessary to further refine and prioritise the checklist items and to pilot the checklist with the frontline health facilities that would be using it. This will help ensure its feasibility and durability for the long-term within the health systems strengthening and health security fields.

Authors
Harunor Rashid
Shehrin Shaila Mahmood
Recommendations for Improving National Nurse Preparedness for Pandemic Response: Early Lessons from COVID-19

Recommendations for Improving National Nurse Preparedness for Pandemic Response: Early Lessons from COVID-19

Publication Type
Report

The rapid evolution and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed insufficiencies in the US health system to respond to a public health emergency, resulting in healthcare worker infections and deaths.1 Nurses have played and will continue to play a pivotal role in the response, yet compelling evidence from nurses in the field reveals a lack of access to personal protective equipment; inadequate knowledge and skills related to pandemic response; a lack of decision rights as they relate to workflow redesign, staffing decisions, and allocation of scarce resources; and a fundamental disconnect between frontline nurses and nurse executives and hospital administrators. These issues were brought to light in a recent survey conducted by the American Nurses Association, which found that 87% of nurses fear going to work, 36% have cared for an infectious patient without having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and only 11% felt well-prepared to care for a COVID-19 patient.2 The efforts put forth by frontline nurses in caring for patients and ensuring the sustainability of health system operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite these challenges, is inspiring. However, there is a critical and compelling need to identify and understand the gaps and inadequacies in the US health system that have contributed to a lack of pandemic readiness, both within and outside of the nursing workforce, including in emergency planning and the procurement and allocation of resources such as PPE and ventilators.

Authors
Sue Anne Bell
Mary Pat Couig
Christopher R. Friese
Roberta Proffitt Lavin
Joan M. Stanley
National Action Plan for Expanding and Adapting the Healthcare System for the Duration of the COVID Pandemic: cover

National Action Plan for Expanding and Adapting the Healthcare System for the Duration of the COVID Pandemic

Publication Type
Report

The COVID-19 (COVID) pandemic has led to unprecedented action and innovation in the US healthcare system; at the same time, it has presented extraordinary challenges and risks. Through dramatic augmentation of surge capacity, deferral of other services, and implementation of crisis standards of care, hospitals in many locations have been able to absorb the blow of the first peak of COVID cases and continue to provide lifesaving care to both COVID patients and others with life-threatening emergencies. But many communities are just beginning to experience the full force of the pandemic, and in every location, the healthcare response to COVID has come at a very dear price. Healthcare facilities have sustained huge financial losses, and healthcare workers’ health and well-being have been put at high risk. New standard operating procedures and work processes have been improvised, and many old lessons have had to be relearned.

Authors
Richard Waldhorn
Matthew Watson
Elizabeth L Daugherty-Biddison
Recommendations for a Metropolitan COVID-19 Response—Special Area of EmphasisGuidance on Protecting Individuals Residing in Long-Term Care Facilities

Recommendations for a Metropolitan COVID-19 Response—Special Area of Emphasis: Guidance on Protecting Individuals Residing in Long-Term Care Facilities

Publication Type
Report

Long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, house some of the nation’s most at-risk populations for morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19 infection. Residents of these facilities require frequent interactions with staff such as for assistance with personal care (i.e. feeding, bathing, dressing), which increases the risk for transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, residents often have underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe complications if they become infected (1).

Authors
Sarah LaFave
Allison A. Hart
Cover: Modernizing and Expanding Outbreak Science to Support Better Decision Making During Public Health Crises: Lessons for COVID-19 and Beyond

Modernizing and Expanding Outbreak Science to Support Better Decision Making During Public Health Crises: Lessons for COVID-19 and Beyond

Publication Type
Report
The use of infectious disease modeling to support public health decision making, referred to in this report as “outbreak science,” has increased in prominence in the past decade. It has been used in the responses to several major outbreaks, from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, to H1N1 influenza in 2009, to the 2 most recent Ebola outbreaks in West Africa (2014-2016) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018-current).