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New report says Michigan needs to do more to prepare for health emergencies

Dec 24, 2017

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds Michigan is falling short of being prepared to respond to a health emergency.

John Auerbach is the president and CEO of Trust for America's Health. 

He says the Trust’s latest “Ready or Not” report finds Michigan meeting only three of ten main recommendations on public health preparedness.

Auerbach says it’s important that states like Michigan prepare now for future health threats.

“So all communities are better prepared to cope with and recover from emergencies,” says Auerbach, “Particularly focusing on those who are most vulnerable.”

The nation's main organization that represents pediatricians says childhood vaccination rates are just one problem.

“We have had recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough in a number of communities.   And they are startling,” says Dr. Karen Remley, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It (underscores) the need to better educate parents and individuals about vaccine safety.”

Angela Minicuci is the spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She says the report is a help to policymakers.

Overall, the report found that the country does not invest enough to maintain strong, basic core capabilities for health security readiness. Even so, here in Michigan we’re proud that we’ve made significant progress in protecting the citizens of Michigan and improving the health of our communities over the past few decades with the resources that are available to us. For example, our state laboratory has a dedicated role and many training courses are readily available to meet or exceed biosafety standards. We also consistently increase our overall preparedness scores in the National Health Security Preparedness Index.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island scored the best on the survey of public health preparedness. Alaska scored the worst.