July 28, 2022

HHS announces reclassification of ASPR

By: Lauren McCaffrey
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Editor’s Note

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has advanced the existing Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) from a staff division to an operating division, using the new name of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

ASPR is now a standalone agency within the HHS alongside other agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This move allows ASPR to collaborate closely with such agencies during future national disasters and emergencies.

ASPR was established in 2006 and has operational responsibilities including the missions of the National Disaster Medical System, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and Medical Reserve Corps. ASPR has grown substantially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to include the Strategic National Stockpile in 2018, public health supply chain in 2020, and the HHS Coordination Operations and Response Element at the beginning of 2022.  

Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response, will continue to lead ASPR. Within the next 2 years, ASPR will transition to an organization with greater administrative capabilities, though the change in name and organizational status is effective immediately.

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