Washington — The American Dental Association and more than 100 organizations are urging lawmakers to include key provisions of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act in any final legislative package this year.
The Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act — known as the PREVENT Pandemics Act — strengthens state and federal preparedness; addresses health disparities and ensures equity in pandemic planning and response; supports research and countermeasures; and addresses critical resource allocation issues and fortifies the supply chain supply issues.
In a Nov. 15 letter to leaders of the House and Senate, the coalition urged the legislators to include the following priority provisions from the bill to ensure the nation’s public health, medical preparedness and response systems are fortified to combat ongoing and future public health emergencies.
The provisions include:
• The BIO Preparedness Workforce Pilot Program. This would incentivize health care professionals to pursue careers in infectious disease and bio-preparedness in underserved communities and health professional shortage areas. The groups noted that the loan repayment program would engage health care professionals, including dentists, to join this workforce.
• The Tracking Pathogens Act. This would strengthen and expand the use of pathogen genomic sequencing and surveillance activities in public health and in partnership with academic institutions, clinical laboratories and private sector entities.
• Improving public health preparedness and response capabilities, and accelerating research and medical product development.
• Strengthening the medical product supply chain to mitigate shortages.
• Addressing health inequities that contribute to the disparities experienced by marginalized populations and underserved urban and rural communities during public health emergencies.
“We must act now to lay the groundwork for our domestic security and preparedness,” the groups wrote.
The coalition concluded by saying, “a well-trained and expanded health workforce is critical for ensuring rapid high-quality response which would reduce avoidable adverse outcomes including deaths. We appreciate your continued leadership on these critical issues and look forward to working with you to enact these key provisions of PREVENT this year.”
Follow all the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/advocacy.