NACCHO Member Testifies Before Congress on Public Health Preparedness

Jun 13, 2023 | NacchoVoice

Washington, DC, June 13, 2023 – Today, Dr. Raynard Washington, PhD, MPH, Public Health Director for Mecklenburg County, NC, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in a hearing titled, “Legislative Solutions to Bolster Preparedness and Response for All Hazards and Public Health Security Threats.”

In his testimony, Dr. Washington discussed the importance of a robust public health infrastructure and the role of local departments in preparing and responding to public health threats. “A well-functioning public health system – infrastructure, workforce, disease surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, and medical countermeasure administration – is pandemic preparedness and must be well resourced at all levels of government before, during and after emergencies.”

Dr. Washington further explained that “reauthorizing the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) is critical to protecting and promoting the public’s health and preparing for the next emergency.” He highlighted key PAHPA authorized programs for local health departments, including the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, Hospital Preparedness Program, and Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Program. In addition, he highlighted important improvements needed to better prepare the nation, including improved transparency of the contents of the Strategic National Stockpile, ensuring a permanent seat for governmental public health representation on the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise, and improving data authority for public health.

With more than 15 years of public health experience at the federal and local level, Dr. Washington has served as Health Director of Mecklenburg County since December of 2021. Prior to this, Dr. Washington served as Deputy Health Director of the county in March of 2020 and Deputy Health Commissioner and Chief Epidemiologist at Philadelphia’s Department of Health for three years. Dr. Washington is a NACCHO member and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Big Cities Health Coalition.

A link to Dr. Washington’s full testimony can be found here and additional information about the hearing can be found here.

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About NACCHO

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.


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