The Governor’s Public Health Commission met Thursday at the Indiana State Library to discuss the role of emergency preparedness as part of its work to examine the state’s public health system and make recommendations that can improve the delivery of public health services across the state.

Stephen Cox, executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), described the purpose of emergency preparedness and how it is addressed through various agencies, including IDHS, the Indiana Department of Health, local health departments and regional healthcare coalitions.

Dr. Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation and co-chair of the commission, noted that emergency preparedness requires consistent investment and innovation to meet current and future public health needs.  

“We’ve seen the importance of emergency preparedness in disease outbreaks like Ebola, Zika, COVID-19 and even H1N1 when I was state health officer,” she said. “There is so much more to this than tabletop exercises and pandemic response plans or responding to the crisis of the day. It requires anticipating those events and training for them while at the same time working to prevent their occurrence.

“Without emergency preparedness, communities would be at risk of greater consequences when disaster does strike, and our health as a state would suffer, let alone long-term economic stability and resiliency,” she added.

Former Sen. Luke Kenley, co-chair of the commission, said Indiana has established a fiscally sound identity, in large part because “we have planned for the future and worked ahead on things.”

“By investing in emergency preparedness now, we’re going to build a better, safer tomorrow for all Hoosiers,” he said.

Video of today’s meeting will be posted at

comment form is posted online for the public to provide feedback on any of the commission’s topics of discussion. The commission will also continue its listening tours this month in Monticello on March 18, Whiting on March 25 and Plainfield on March 31. Details are posted here.

Governor Eric J. Holcomb established the 15-member commission in August. In addition to childhood and adolescent health services, the commission’s work is focusing on areas that include funding, structure and governance, emergency preparedness, data and information, and workforce. Its next meeting will be held Thursday, April 21, 2022.

More information about the commission, including agendas, presenter slides, resources and other materials, can be found at Executive Order 21-21, which established commission, can be found here.