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Mount Sinai Launches Center for Healthcare Readiness to Strengthen Practice and Partnerships in Public Health Emergency Response

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai announced the launch of its new Center for Healthcare Readiness, bringing together a diverse team of academic and operational experts to strengthen the Mount Sinai Health System’s strategies and the U.S. health care sector’s capacity to prepare for and respond to any large-scale public health emergency. 

The Center will work with both Mount Sinai’s own resources, and public and private partners at the local, regional, and federal levels, to pursue strategies in research, advocacy, innovation, and collaboration to plan for future challenges. 

The Center hosted its inaugural “The Future of Healthcare Preparedness Conference” on Wednesday, May 8, bringing together top experts in the field to strategize on how to strengthen health care readiness for the 21st century. Notable speakers from the White House’s Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and academia provided insight on emerging priorities across government, health care, and other industries—including pharmaceutical companies, data security, and informational technology—to ensure national health security during major health emergencies. 

The conference also addressed opportunities to improve readiness by boosting collaboration among private corporations and the academic sector. The discussion covered a wide range of threats to health security, including emerging pathogens, environmental hazards and their effects on vulnerable populations, importance of preparedness plans and better surveillance programs for new disease threats, improving data sharing capabilities, standardization of data and data interoperability, and military-civilian collaboration. 

A keynote panel on “National Priorities for Readiness in the Post-Covid Era” moderated by Brendan Carr, MD, MA, MS, Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, included Dawn O’Connell, JD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within HSS; Maj. Gen. (ret.) Paul Friedrichs, MD, Inaugural Head of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy for the White House; Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and member of the President’s COVID-19 Taskforce and the All Hazard 21st Century Threats Taskforce; and Col. (ret.) Robert Kadlec, MD, former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within HSS. The speakers emphasized the importance of building trust during normal times, collaboration of public and private partners, and regionalization of readiness practice. Other speakers also highlighted the importance of a coordinated approach for health care delivery to ensure optimal outcomes during major public health emergencies and medical disasters. 

“Threats to public health remain all around us in the form of cyberattacks, mass shootings, terror attacks, new infectious disease outbreaks, and the effects of climate change. These large-scale events will continue to challenge the nation’s health care sector and other industries,” says Dr. Carr. “In addition to our investment in public health, we must specifically focus on the role of the healthcare sector in caring for the ill and injured. We need robust public-private partnerships in order to ensure that healthcare will always be available to those in need.” 

“This Center will harness Mount Sinai’s vast research enterprise, fostering collaboration across medicine including top experts in infectious disease, microbiology, health care services research, education, and informatics to ultimately improve health care delivery for our patients and patients across the country,” says Alexis Zebrowski, PhD, MPH, Co-Director of the Center for Healthcare Readiness and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, and Population Health Science and Policy, at Icahn Mount Sinai“Health care readiness is often thought of in the context of complex and compounding events like the COVID-19 pandemic, but to truly be ready, we have to have the everyday conversations around care delivery. We have to train our next generation of medical professionals and scientists how to think about implementing readiness in everyday practice so that when we need to rely on it, we are already comfortable using the tools, data, and skills.” 

The Mount Sinai Center for Healthcare Readiness brings together academic and operational experts in medical research, care delivery, clinical operations, education, and Health System leadership. 

“A system-based approach to health care readiness is key to the efforts of the Center. Mount Sinai and other health systems’ roles in a response to a public health emergency must be aligned with the government and public health response, but also, we need to better understand and develop systems and relationships with private industry in an extremely complex health care delivery environment,” says Michael Redlener, MD, Co-Director of Mount Sinai’s Center for Healthcare Readiness and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Icahn Mount Sinai.  

Mount Sinai experts will continue to work with national health leaders to address the response to potential public health outbreaks and help build consistent strategies across the United States to deliver high-quality patient care under extreme circumstances. Leaders at the Center will also collaborate with diverse industries, including pharmaceutical and supply chain distributors, to create further consistency in preparedness plans to prevent drug or equipment shortages during major health emergencies.