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2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic Response Documentation Archive 2009-2010
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The 209 H1N1 Flu Pandemic Response Documentation Archive was a collaboration between HMD and ASPR. It is a collection of meeting notes and other primary documents in written and multi-media formats that provide a record of the federal government's response efforts during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. This collaborative project was conceived of by Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR). HMD historian Sheena Morrison was embedded into ASPR meetings to record meeting activities and collect ancillary public relations material. She later interviewed Federal employees from lead agencies engaged in the response efforts to record their thoughts and positions on policy issues, deliberations, and actions taken to protect the public's health. Another purpose of the oral histories was to provide a future knowledge base; if the country again faces the threat of influenza or other pandemics, it is likely that an in-depth knowledge of the lessons learned from the H1N1 response efforts will prove relevant.

The collection largely consists of born-digital electronic records as managed by Lurie as part of her day-to-day repsonsibilities at DHHS for mananging the pandemic response. These records document ASPR’s coordination activities with the White House; sister agencies such as the State Department, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Education; and the CDC, FDA, and NIH through a framework of 4 main pillars: disease surveillance; mitigation (medical surge, community, medical counter measures); immunization; and communications. These records consist of a wide-range of daily policy documents such as daily Chief of Staff meeting agendas and minutes, policy formulation and decisions such as leveraging the national stockpile of antigen drugs and N95 respirator masks, developing vaccination strategies and vaccine production; and emergency response planning with first responders and hospitals.

The collection also contains a large selection of public health service announcements, posters, websites, and videos geared to inform the public and mitigate the disease. The CDC, state, and local health authorities produced hundreds of public health prevention posters on topics such as frequent hand-washing, containing coughs and sneezes, wearing face masks and gloves, social distancing and home self-isolation, immunization, and anticipating school and business closures. Leveraging the White House’s relationships with the private sector and Hollywood, many celebrities of the day such as Amy Ryan, Marc Anthony, and Jackie Joyner-Kersey joined the cause with Senators, Congressmen, and health officials to create PSA videos for television that are preserved in this collection.

The collection description source is largely an export of the file tree of Morrision's hard drive which contained a mix of directories of documents provided by Lurie as well as folders of documents externally collected by Morrison and others.

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