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Ken Berta on the Launch of Atlanta’s Global Health Crisis Coordination Center

Metro ATL Chamber

By Metro Atlanta Chamber

The Global Health Crisis Coordination Center (GHC3) launched in Atlanta last month with the goal of uniting the best and brightest among corporations and nonprofits to aid health officials in the face of global health crises.

“The formation of the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center just makes sense now and is clearly a natural result of how our region continues to drive conversations and thought leadership around global health, particularly as we deal with this unprecedented crisis,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “With metro Atlanta’s rich talent pool, reputation as a logistics leader and thriving innovation ecosystem, we are poised to continue leveraging our global reach to have a positive impact in the response to COVID-19 and beyond.”

Ken Berta is executive director of the GHC3 and recently sat down to discuss the origins of the center and why the GHC3 is most needed right now.

What is GHC3? 

“The Global Health Crisis Coordination Center launched to help connect private sector resources with public sector and health care needs during this pandemic and other health crises around the globe. The CDC Foundation has a congressional mandate to liaise with the private sector to help the CDC, and that’s what we’re here to support, at the Foundation’s request. A lot of our citizenry – both people and companies – want to help and are helping. We are here to coordinate this support outside of the government processes and in step with their guidance to respond to this unprecedented pandemic. Our seed investors are The CDC Foundation and Microsoft. We are seeking more partners to ensure we can continue this fight, learn from it, and be better prepared.

What exactly will this new group be doing?

We’re already doing a lot and will be doing even more. Primarily, we’re giving people with resources a mechanism to get those resources to those who need it most. We have focused on specific needs for the fight against COVID-19. These include:

  1. Identifying and validating the need for critical equipment and supplies. For example, we have been able to identify providers (hospitals and long-term care facilities) in need of PPE and connect them with alternative sources of supply.
  2. Finding and vetting alternative sources of supply and shipping resources to connect supply with much needed demand. We have been able to source PPE and over 1,000 ventilators that we connected to public health departments in six states and the British Consulate.  
  3. Applying advanced technology to inform healthcare providers and public health officials of response needs and gaps that require attention. We are working with Microsoft, Dell, IBM and Reprivata to leverage their technologies to automate supply and demand matching; gather data from patients, labs and providers for analysis; and ensure all this is done within a highly secure environment.
  4. Providing alternative channels and leveraging influencers from entertainment, business and sports to communicate guidance and messaging from the CDC and other validated sources. For example, we are working with Mr. Steve Harvey and other influencers to help spread information to diverse communities that could help people stay safe as we get back to work and back to school.
  5. Reviewing novel technologies and techniques being developed by the private sector that can be shared with the healthcare community, employers and the public. For example, the science and technology teams are reviewing testing techniques, both current and those in development, as well as COVID-19-focused therapies and innovative delivery systems that could help save lives.  

Why Atlanta? 

The CDC is the only federal agency not headquartered in D.C. – it is based in Atlanta. With the public health talent that’s attracted to Atlanta, plus our corporate resources and the ease of logistics and travel that Atlanta offers, this was the place to launch. We are a national effort and have already helped connect resources to needs nationwide. After COVID-19, we’ll be focused on global health crises as they arise.  

How do you see GHC3’s role post COVID-19?

Our role will be to remain vigilant and prepared to respond to health crises wherever they may arise.  We will also be adding to our knowledge base, ensuring we learn from this response and incorporate improvements while developing new capabilities that will advance future response and surveillance.  

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For more on the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center, visit: https://globalhealthc3.com/.

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