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IEM Health: Public Health Policy, Planning & Modeling

IEM’s Expertise in Public Health Policy, Planning and Modeling

IEM is a national leader in public health policy, planning, and modeling.  IEM’s modeling following the 2001 anthrax attacks and other disease outbreaks led to two Presidential policies – one from President Bush and another from President Obama.

IEM’s modeling showed that specific actions have the potential to save millions of lives during catastrophic biological scenarios.

Support for Federal Policy on Pandemics and Medical Countermeasures: HHS

For over 15 years, IEM has supported the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and their planning and modeling for pandemics and medical countermeasures requirements.

IEM initially supported HHS as part of the Secretary’s Council on Public Health Preparedness and their Anthrax Modeling Working Group in 2003. As part of our support to the Working Group, IEM modeled the medical consequences of an anthrax attack by examining the time to complete rapid dispensing of post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, with multiple courses of action in a targeted area.

IEM continued to support HHS analyzing public health consequences of anthrax attacks and examining the time to complete PEP dispensing throughout the mid-2000s. Our modeling and analyses demonstrated that post-exposure prophylaxis needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible to save lives. The IEM team presented our anthrax modeling analysis and results to the Biodefense Net Assessment Executive Review Panel in June 2007, leading to the creation of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-21 (HSPD-21) – Public Health and Medical Preparedness issued by President George W. Bush in October 2007.

As part of IEM’s modeling and simulation support to HHS, IEM investigated and modeled the feasibility and potential effectiveness of using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver medical countermeasures (MCMs) to households to augment the local points of distribution. At HHS’s request, in January 2008, the IEM presented our anthrax modeling to the Special Assistant to President Bush for Biodefense Policy, including an analysis of the effectiveness of Postal Service delivery of MCMs. We continued to work with HHS to further model and analyze the effectiveness of Postal Service delivery of MCMs as a potential dispensing mechanism.

Then, in late December 2009, President Barack Obama and the White House issued Executive Order (EO) 13527Establishing Federal Capability for the Timely Provision of Medical Countermeasures Following a Biological AttackThe EO was directly informed by IEM’s modeling work and directed the federal government to finalize plans to implement the Postal Service’s delivery of MCMs as a Federal augmentation to local MCM dispensing to ensure a rapid response to a biological attack on U.S. soil.

Data Driven, Evidence-based:  Policies and Plans

IEM’s public health and pandemic data and modeling expertise is world class. Our work remains the basis for federal government policies and plans that are still being used today.

Our team works each and every day to enable data-driven planning in the federal, state, local, and territorial government and the private sector. We help public health agencies and healthcare organizations overcome the challenges they face preparing for emergencies and disasters.  

Since 2003, IEM’s modeling has driven federal policy and planning. Our work transformed planning for all national and regional medical countermeasures using medical consequence modeling and simulation of disease outbreaks and medical consequences following emerging infectious diseases or hypothetical attacks with biological agents.  In fact, IEM has supported interagency working groups to develop vetted disease models for all Category A and some Category B biological agents.

The best planning documents for a medical or public health response are evidence-based, supported with data. Our analyses incorporate mitigated and unmitigated consequences, public health responses, and concepts of operation, as well as the responses of the general public to such events.  IEM professionals have proven experience in helping states and health care systems ensure organizational resiliency and become more effective service providers during emergencies – whether it is transporting and distributing the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) or caring for a small population of patients with highly specialized medical needs.

IEM professionals have first-hand public health and medical services knowledge and expertise. Our staff of experts includes medical preparedness and response planners, epidemiologists, disease progression modelers, contact tracers, public health practitioners and educators, former hospital emergency managers, and public health policy analysts. They are experienced clinicians in the areas of public health, emergency care, critical care, medical-surgical, hospital administration, and emergency medical services.  

Sample IEM Public Health Projects

  • Modeling support for the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), to support research studies, including Dispensing Medical Countermeasures for Public Health Emergencies
  • Modeling work for HHS to support the Executive Office of the President in 2008, resulting in a subsequent Homeland Security Presidential Directive and Executive Order
  • Modeling all Category A and some Category B biological agents as well as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the 2008-2009 Ebola outbreak, and the novel coronavirus (2020) for HHS
  • Biological tabletop exercises for the CDC
  • Biological modeling for FEMA’s Biological Incident Annex to the Response & Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plan
  • Public health and medical subject matter expertise support to FEMA for Comprehensive Preparedness Guidance (CPG) initiative
  • Pandemic flu supplement for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP)
  • State of Colorado’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Transportation Plan, including tabletop exercise and participation in full-scale exercise
  • Catastrophic planning for the Missouri Hospital Association to improve immediate and long-term capacity to respond to a major disaster
  • Technical Assistance (TA) Program for Mass Casualty and Mass Fatality planning covering capability assessment, state/local planning, regional planning, resource coordination, and plan validation
  • Business continuity planning for Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), including training and tabletop exercise
  • COOP plan assessment for the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services
  • COVID-19 AI-based Modeling to support state, local, tribal and territorial public health and emergency management officials (link to ) and Visualization

For more information on how IEM can assist with you with your planning needs, please contact us at covid19response[at]

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