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The Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security

The Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security is an educational forum to discuss new topics, technologies, and ideas that can improve domestic health security now and in the future. It convenes staff from congressional offices, federal agencies, and the invited public focused on strengthening US health security.

The Steering Committee is sponsored and managed by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Six United States Senators serve as Honorary Senate Co-Chairs, five United States House of Representatives serve as Honorary House Co-Chairs and four former federal government public health leaders serve as Honorary Founding Members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the national and international consequences that deadly infectious disease epidemics can cause. The Steering Committee is a venue to enable critical discussions on non-partisan policy options for improving the United States’ ability to protect Americans from the next health security threat.

The Steering Committee hosts monthly events focused on lessons learned from responses to natural, man-made, and other complex health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to better mitigate and respond to future health crises.

Honorary Senate Co-Chairs

  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
  • Senator Thomas Tillis (R-NC)
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Honorary House of Representatives Co-Chairs

  • Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
  • Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
  • Representative Andy Harris (R-MD)
  • Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC)
  • Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA)

Honorary Founding Members

  • Susan Brooks, JD, Former U.S. House of Representative (R-IN)
  • Stephen Redd, MD, Former Deputy Director for Public Health Service and Implementation Science, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rear Admiral Retired, US Public Health Service
  • Kathleen Sebelius, MPA, Former Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services, former Governor of Kansas
  • W. Craig Vanderwagen, MD, Former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rear Admiral Retired, US Public Health Service


Upcoming Events

Please stay tuned for future events.

Past Events

May 15, 2024 | Strengthening US Defense Capabilities Against Deliberate Biological Threats: What Congress Needs to Know

The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Tom Inglesby, discussed how the US government views and prepares for deliberate biological threats. Panelists shared how each of their agencies contributes to US biodefense and how they work across government to advance this mission.

Watch the May 15 live recording

April 10, 2024 | Preventing and Preparing for the Next Pandemic: A Focus on Funding Priorities

The panel discussion, moderated by Anita Cicero, discussed highlights from the finalized FY 2024 funding bills and looked ahead to appropriations for FY 2025 and beyond. It considered the priorities laid out in the recently released President’s Budget Request and discussed how sustainable investments in preparedness can lead to tangible improvements in our nation’s health security.

Watch the April 10 live recording

February 8, 2024 | Policy Frontiers: Realizing the Benefits, Managing the Risks of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Biotechnology

The in-person panel discussion delved into the impact and implementation of the President’s AI Executive Order related to the convergence of AI and biotechnology, challenges and opportunities that still need to be addressed, and Congress’ role in governance of these rapidly evolving technologies.

Watch the February 8 live recording

December 7, 2023 | National Defense Authorization Act Biodefense Priorities: A Dialogue with Assistant Secretary of Defense Deborah G. Rosenblum

In an in-person fireside chat with Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Director Dr. Tom Inglesby, Hon. Deborah Rosenblum offered her insights into important priorities for biosecurity in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), progress on implementing the Biosecurity Posture Review, and other biosecurity topics that are particularly relevant for the nation’s security.

Watch the December 7 live recording

September 26, 2023 | Building a Resilient Nation: A Dialogue with Major General Paul Friedrichs on Launching the White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy

The nonpartisan Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security hosted an in-person fireside chat with Major General (ret.) Paul Friedrichs and Dr. Tom Inglesby about the newly launched White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy. Former Senator Burr gave opening remarks.

Watch the September 26 live recording

March 30, 2023 | The Future of Pandemic Preparedness: Why PAHPA Reauthorization is the Keystone

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted an in-person panel and reception, The Future of Pandemic Preparedness: Why PAHPA Reauthorization is the Keystone.

Watch the March 30 live recording

November 17, 2022 | What's new in the 2022 National Biodefense Strategy?

This session featured an intimate fireside chat and audience Q&A with Dr. Raj Panjabi who serves in the White House National Security Council as the Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense.

Watch the November 17 webinar
Read the full transcript from November 17 (PDF)

September 29, 2022 | Leaving No One Behind: How Can the Federal Government Help Meet the Unique Health Needs of Rural Communities in Pandemic

This session dove into the unique health needs of rural communities in the United States and how the Federal Government can aid these communities to be better prepared for a future pandemic.

Watch the September 29 webinar
Read the full transcript from September 29 (PDF)

July 20, 2022 | Strengthening Private Public Partnerships in Pandemic Preparedness for National Security and Economic Competitiveness

This session highlighted the key components of what is necessary to incentivize, facilitate, and sustain effective PPPs for innovation to bolster pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response; what Congress can do to support and leverage such partnerships, the role of the appropriations process; and how the US can be better positioned in the global economy through increased investments in PPPs in the areas of health security and advanced life science.

Watch the July 20 webinar
Read the full transcript from July 20 (PDF)

May 25, 2022 | Funding and Sustaining Long-Term Investments in Pandemic Preparedness

This session explored the outlook for this budget request and the options for future of pandemic preparedness and health security funding. Speakers expanded on the need for bi-partisan collaboration to secure preparedness funding and possible budget mechanisms that would lead us to become a more resilient nation.

Watch the May 25 webinar
Read the full transcript from May 25 (PDF)

March 30, 2022 | Enabling Population-Scale Diagnostic Testing for COVID-19 and Future Infectious Disease Outbreaks

This session explored how policy makers can work to sustain technological gains made in diagnostic testing during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they can expand applications of this technology to other health security threats.

Watch the March 30 webinar
Read the full transcript from March 30 (PDF)

February 24, 2022 | Next Generation Masks and Respirators: How the Strategic National Stockpile Can Better Protect Essential Workers and the Public During Pandemic

This session focused on the current status of mask and respirator stockpiling, the scientific advances that could lead to more effective and accessible masks, and policies that the U.S. government could support to build this capacity in anticipation of future public health threats.

Watch the February 24 webinar
Read the full transcript from February 24 (PDF)

January 27, 2022 | Protecting U.S. National Security by Increasing Vaccination Globally: Immediate Steps for COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Implications for the Future

This session explored the current state, successes, and remaining challenges of global vaccine development, manufacturing, distribution, and delivery. It highlighted actionable steps the U.S. Government can take to bring an end to the acute crisis of this pandemic and meet the scale of future infectious disease threats.

Watch the January 27 webinar
Read the full transcript from January 27 (PDF)

November 17, 2021 | Modernizing Research & Development for Pandemic Readiness

This session examined how Federal agencies, Congress, and the White House can foster greater agility, speed, innovation and coordination to re-imagine research and development for pandemic readiness.

Watch the November 17 webinar
Read the full transcript from November 17 (PDF)

October 20, 2021 | Combating Misinformation and Disinformation for COVID-19 and Future Public Health Threats

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that accurate and timely health-related information is crucial to mounting an effective response to a public health crisis. Contradictory messaging, misinformation, and undermining of public health experts have reduced the trust in public health responders, increased belief in false medical cures, and politicized public health measures aimed at curbing transmission of the disease. As can be seen in setbacks during the COVID-19 response, health-related misinformation and disinformation can lead to more infections, deaths, disruption, and disorganization of the effort.

This session evaluated the role misinformation has played in health emergencies and offered solutions to increase trust in future public health messaging.

Watch the October 20 webinar
Read the full transcript from October 20 (PDF)

September 22, 2001

This was a closed-door event.

June 16, 2021 | Global Vaccine Access: Challenges and Opportunities

The development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has captured public attention both in the U.S. and abroad. Decisions around global vaccine distribution are complex and multi-faceted, involving issues relating to equity, vaccine nationalism, and global health security. In this month’s session, speakers evaluated where things stand in terms of global access to vaccines and the urgent need to expedite global vaccine distribution to save lives and reduce the risk that variants pose.

Watch the June 16 webinar
Read the full transcript from June 16 (PDF)

May 26, 2021 | U.S. Leadership for a Pandemic-Free Future: Technologies to End Biological Threats

This webinar explored how the federal government can prioritize investments in available and future technologies to ensure nothing like the Covid-19 pandemic, or worse, could ever happen again.

Watch the May 26 webinar
Read the full transcript from May 26 (PDF)

Relevant resources:

April 28, 2021 | Improving the Resilience of U.S. Health Care Systems for Future Pandemics

Hospitals and health care systems are the life force behind an effective pandemic response in the United States. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, these public and private sector institutions experienced staff, supply, and equipment shortages; struggled with providing access to care in rural areas; and lacked data coordination. How can the federal government assist in tackling the problems experienced by these institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic to help them prepare for future pandemics and other health emergencies?

Watch the April 28 webinar
Read the full transcript from April 28 (PDF).

March 30, 2021 | Strengthening the Supply Chain for US Pandemic Response: Strategies for Stockpiling, Surge Capacity, and Distribution

The length and intensity of the domestic COVID-19 response has exposed vulnerabilities in the domestic supply capacity for key products needed in a pandemic including personal protective equipment, lab supplies, needles and syringes, and key therapeutic compounds. While we still face supply challenges in our ongoing COVID-19 response, emerging lessons from both the private and public sector can inform new policies and practices that enhance domestic preparedness. Supporting a robust domestic manufacturing and distribution infrastructure for such products will ensure the US is more prepared for future pandemics.

Watch the March 30 webinar
Read the full transcript from March 30 (PDF)

February 24, 2021 | Data Driven Public Health Response to Pandemics: Maximizing Disease Surveillance, Genomic Sequencing, and Epidemic Forecasting

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for enhanced disease surveillance capabilities both domestically and abroad. Epidemiological data has been the backbone for the global response to COVID-19. The country’s COVID-19 experience has highlighted gaps in our domestic system and the need to increase our current capacity. The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern with potential for increased transmission have sparked discussion on the need for genomic surveillance, adding to the conversation on what we can be doing as a country now to improve our COVID-19 response. This webinar addressed the current status of domestic disease surveillance and open a dialogue on how we can become better prepared for future public health threats.

Watch the February 24 webinar
Read the full transcript from February 24 (PDF)

January 28, 2021 | COVID-19 Vaccination: What is Needed Now to Meet the Needs of the Hardest Hit Populations in the United States

As the largest mass vaccination campaign in recent US history is now underway, the US government and states must play vital roles in boosting confidence in the vaccine, building demand, and meeting the needs of a diverse set of urban, suburban, and rural communities. We discussed how the vaccination campaign is going, what the federal government can do to support a successful immunization effort, and the systems that need to be built for future mass vaccination efforts.

Watch the January 28 webinar

December 9, 2020 | Implementation of Mass Vaccination Campaigns in a Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities during COVID-19

In the recent weeks there has been exciting news from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, bolstering hopes that the vaccines will bring the pandemic under control. This session focused on the implementation of mass vaccination programs. We discussed the challenges and opportunities at the local, state and national levels to maximize the effectiveness and equity of the impending COVID-19 vaccination effort. 

Watch the December 9 webinar
Read the full transcript from December 9 (PDF)

November 17, 2020 | Navigating a Pandemic: The Strategic Role and Future Development of Diagnostic Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented public health and economic crises. Tests for the presence of infection are critical to measure the spread of disease and to control epidemics in communities. This pandemic has revealed several gaps in diagnostic testing. We must leverage these lessons to improve ongoing response efforts and to better prepare for future pandemics. Looking toward the future, in this event we considered:

  • What if we were able to more quickly develop tests for novel pathogens, like SARS-CoV-2?
  • How would reliable at-home testing change the way public health addressed outbreaks?
  • What technologies could improve the current paradigm of the diagnostic system?

Watch the November 17 webinar

October 7, 2020 | Virtual Launch of the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security

The United States’ continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the nation’s health security capabilities. As the US continues to respond to this herculean challenge, the new Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security will provide an educational forum to discuss new topics, technologies, and ideas that could improve domestic health security now and in the future.

The launch event, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, featured a discussion with the Honorary Senate Co-chairs and the Steering Committee’s Honorary Founding Members, leaders who have spent decades improving US health security.

Watch the October 7 webinar

From our Co-Chairs

“Our nation is coming out of a historic pandemic and it is critically important that we implement the lessons we learned over the last two years,” said Senator Tillis. “One of my top priorities is protecting American’s physical health and economic future, which is why I am honored to join the John Hopkins Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security as Honorary Co-Chair during this pivotal time. I look forward to working with stakeholders on a bipartisan basis to strengthen our ability to respond to future pandemics and other public health threats.”

– US Senator Thomas Tillis (R-NC)

“There is nothing more important than our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. That’s why, for nearly two decades, I’ve made it a priority to establish a modern framework that brings together the private and public sectors to address pandemics and other public health threats. I’m honored to be chosen to serve as the Co-Chair of this critical committee. I look forward to working with these professionals to ensure our nation stays vigilant against a full range of threats.”

US Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) (retired)

“As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, our Nation is coming to understand how important it is to prepare for public health emergencies. Congress has a responsibility to strengthen our policies, and craft new ones, to prevent another pandemic of this horrific scale, and that will take further bipartisan cooperation. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the members of the Steering Committee to develop meaningful, bipartisan policies to support public health preparedness and response efforts at every level of government that will address the impact of COVID-19 and better prepare us for future public health threats.”

- US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a wakeup call for everyone. The health and economic hardships caused by the coronavirus have been harsh, but the pandemic must also teach us lessons on how to better prepare for future disasters. This distinguished Steering Committee will help keep us focused on those goals even as this crisis fades."

- US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is jeopardizing the health and economic security of millions of individuals and families across our country. I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the work of scientists and public health professionals. Science and public health can and should drive our response to this crisis, and inform our efforts to better prepare for the future. I’m honored to serve as one of the Co-Chairs of this Steering Committee, and I look forward to advancing efforts that will help us prepare for the future, and protect our nation’s public health, national security and economic growth."

– US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

"We’ve seen what happens when we aren’t as prepared as we should be for a public health crisis, and we have an obligation to ensure we’re never caught flat-footed again. We owe it to our frontline workers and all those we represent to use the lessons learned from this pandemic to improve our response to future surges of COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. As an Honorary Co-Chair of the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security, I look forward to working with fellow committee members to better prevent, respond to, and recover from complex public health challenges for years to come."

– US Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA)