The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has a mission to protect and improve the health and environment for all people in Hawaii, and the Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) plays a key role. OPHP’s efforts prevent, plan, mitigate, respond, and recover from natural and human-caused public health emergencies and threats, and works with the community to help the public prepare.
OPHP prepares for natural or humanmade disasters, emerging infectious diseases, disease epidemics and pandemics, terrorism and accidents that impact human health (e.g., bioterrorism, chemical emergencies, radiological emergencies, and nuclear attack), and other public health emergencies. Preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic is one example of such activities.
Funded by a Hospital Preparedness Program-Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OPHP is responsible for coordinating the Department of Health’s (DOH) emergency preparedness activities and facilitating DOH’s roles and responsibilities to protect the public’s health and safety in the event of an emergency or disaster, including a major role in DOH’s COVID-19 response.
OPHP also coordinates Hawaii’s smallpox vaccination program, administers the Strategic National Stockpile for distribution of emergency pharmaceuticals in case of public health emergencies, and collaborates with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management (HHEM), county/city emergency management and civil defense agencies, and other related stakeholders in developing and implementing state and local response plans for bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.