Biodefense Blue Ribbon Panel Report Sends Strong Messages – Is Anyone Listening?

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense recently released its report following a year-long study of how America can and should address biological threats – both man-made and naturally occurring. It is substantive, serious and scholarly. It deserves serious attention by policy makers, health practitioners and political pundits.
Why, you ask? Because the human health and economic impact of a wide-spread biological “event” is not receiving sufficient attention and, as the report says, current programs are wasting time and money that could be spent in a more effective manner. There is one other reason to take the report seriously. If no action is taken on the Panel’s 33 recommendations, it will serve as the basis of a scathing “after action report” – the kind that plaintiff’s lawyers and congressional oversight investigators use as a guidebook for placing blame. Does anyone really think we need more of that?
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel, ably led by Former Governor and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and Former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman, included former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and former White House Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein. At the report roll-out on October 28, and in Senate testimony that same day, Ridge, Lieberman and Wainstein were effusive about the magnificent staff work performed by Drs. Asha George and Ellen Carlin.

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