NEWS

JTF-HD Hosts Public Health Officials

By Darrell D. Ames, JTF-HD Public Affairs


Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) operations officer, Lt. Col. Shane Elikins briefs Ms. Nguyen and Rear Adm. Helminiak at the JTF-HD Joint Operations Center. (Official JTF-HD photo by Darrell Ames)
Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) operations officer, Lt. Col. Shane Elikins briefs Ms. Nguyen and Rear Adm. Helminiak at the JTF-HD Joint Operations Center. (Official JTF-HD photo by Darrell Ames)

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Public health officials from various locations and levels visited Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) recently as ongoing discussions regarding interagency partnership and sharing continued.

Navy Rear Adm. Clare Helminiak, Deputy Director for Medical Surge in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), received the JTF-HD operations brief and discussed possible areas of collaboration between HHS and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in the JTF-HD area of operations.

"Joint and interagency public health coordination is a big part of our operational platform," said Mr. Mel Garcia, JTF-HD Deputy J3. Ms. Ann Nguyen, Public Health Analyst, HHS Hospital Preparedness Program visited the JTF-HD operations center several days earlier with public health professionals from Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Palau. The group was in Honolulu attending a Pacific Islands public health and hospital emergency coordinators meeting/workshop, hosted by the State Department of Health. Both briefs included JTF-HD/Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) overview message highlighting the annual Lightning Rescue Infectious Disease/Biological Threat (ID/BT) exercise, and PDC's recent Geographic Information System (GIS) data-sharing agreement with the Hospital Association of Hawaii and how it should serve as a model for data sharing in the JTF-HD area of operations.

Navy Rear Adm. Clare Helminiak, Deputy Director for Medical Surge in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (Official U.S. Navy photo)
Navy Rear Adm. Clare Helminiak, Deputy Director for Medical Surge in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (Official U.S. Navy photo)

Rear Adm. Helminiak is responsible for directing and coordinating medical surge through the supervision of three programs: the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS); the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP); and the Emergency Care Coordination Center (ECCC). NDMS augments the Nation’s medical response capability with specialized medical, veterinary, and mortuary team capabilities. HPP enhances the preparedness and response of hospitals and health care systems. ECCC improves the resiliency, efficiency, and capacity of daily hospital emergency medical care. She is also the Chief Medical Officer for the United States Public Health Service, and is responsible for providing leadership and coordination of medical professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General.

Headquartered at Fort Shafer, Hawaii, JTF-HD’s mission is to execute domestic Land Domain operations, in close coordination, with civil authorities, to defeat terrorist threats to the U.S. Homeland (defined as the U.S. States and Territories, Possessions, Commonwealths; and Compact Nations in the Pacific), and when requested/validated, to conduct civil support [Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) or Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA)] operations for all hazards including responding to, and recovering from, natural or man-made disasters across the Pacific.