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Connected Communities: Harnessing Technology for Resilience

I know from my own experience in primary care and public health that it’s not a matter of if a community will need to respond and recover. It’s a matter of when, how and with what resources. California has been especially hard-hit by emergencies over the past 12 months, from massive wildfires and devastating mudslides to the deadly 2017-2018 flu season. In other parts of the United States and territories, last year’s overwhelming hurricane season which impacted Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the nationwide seasonal flu epidemic, and other recent events remind us of the impact that emergencies—whether natural or manmade—can have on our communities, especially the most vulnerable.

Today’s Connected Communities: Harnessing Technology for Resilience is an important convening that brings together leaders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with San Francisco Bay Area business, technology, community and health organizations for a robust cross-sector dialogue about innovative tech solutions that can lead to stronger, more resilient communities—in California and beyond, both now and in the future.

At this day-long conference co-hosted by the CDC Foundation, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I’m looking forward to gaining insights from other leaders across sectors about how technology can spark creative solutions to handle crises more effectively. I’m also excited about the brainstorming that is sure to unfold this afternoon as we think collectively about tech-related strategies that impact community health and safety.

It is an honor to represent the CDC Foundation today, alongside a diverse group of distinguished speakers, including Acting CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat and CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Dr. Stephen Redd. We are also privileged to have with us a wide range of health and tech professionals including Dr. Charity Dean, health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Dr. Mark Smolinski, president of Ending Pandemics, and Nicole Hu, chief technology officer and co-founder of One Concern, who, along with her co-founders, was named one of Forbes “30 under 30” in 2016. And those are just a few of the speakers who are sharing their voices and talents with us today—to see a full list of the speakers who are participating, I encourage you to visit Connected Communities-Presenters.

Health threats go beyond natural disasters, including everyday issues related to health disparities, the rise of drug resistant bacteria, and the nationwide opioid epidemic. Alone, the government has unique capacities as well as limitations. The same is true for private and philanthropic sectors. Yet there are indeed innovative solutions—and I am encouraged that this forum is bringing together some of the best and brightest minds across numerous sectors to think about working together for the greater good. Together, we can leverage data, predictive analytics and a range of proven solutions to protect people and save lives.

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