June 25, 2020

Hawaii Department of Health to Receive More Than $5.6 Million for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced that the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) will receive more than $5.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program. Funding under PHEP allows state health departments, along with local and territorial agencies, to strengthen their response to public health threats like infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. 

“Our nation is facing a public health crisis that is demonstrating just how important it is for state and local public health agencies to collaborate. This funding will help our state continue to respond to COVID-19, and strengthen systems to address future public health emergencies. I will fight for additional federal funding so that our communities have robust public health plans and the resources to implement them,” Senator Hirono said.

HDOH’s Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) has used funding from the PHEP program to invest in public health surveillance and epidemiologic investigation, public health laboratory testing, community preparedness, emergency operations coordination, and information sharing. These investments allow the state to better respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and in recent years have been integral in protecting Hawaii residents during the Kilauea Volcano eruption in 2018 and in quickly ending a hepatitis A outbreak in 2016.  

Senator Hirono has advocated for years to increase this program’s funding, including in a March letter she led with Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and other colleagues to the Senate Appropriations Committee.