FDA's CORE Network—A New Approach to Managing Foodborne Outbreak Surveillance, Response, and Post-Response Efforts
FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network was created to manage not just outbreak response, but surveillance and post-response activities related to incidents involving multiple illnesses linked to FDA-regulated human and animal food and cosmetic products.
The goal of the CORE Network is to build upon the best of what we currently do across FDA in incident response, and not only to streamline, but to strengthen FDA’s efforts to prevent, detect, investigate, respond to, and learn from incidents and outbreaks.
Members of the CORE Network at the Headquarters level are assigned on a continuous, full-time basis to ensure continuity of effort and to promote strong team building—both within the CORE staff and with our internal and external stakeholders. The teams are multidisciplinary, and represent a stronger emphasis on the types of expertise needed to enhance the ways FDA handles both response and post-response activities related to incidents of illnesses linked to human and animal food.
A Change in Approach
By having a full-time staff to prepare for, coordinate and carry out response to incidents, we can improve response time and standardize our procedures and activities. And, by having a centralized, full-time staff dedicated to post response activities (which were previously spread out across various FDA offices), we can concentrate more on lessons learned, to try and prevent incidents in the future and incorporate what we’ve learned into more effective, preventive food safety practices and policies.
The Chief Medical Officer: Leadership and Management
The Chief Medical Officer/Outbreak Director, or CMO, Dr. Kathleen Gensheimer, has overall responsibility for leadership and management of FDA's activities related to incidents of illness linked to human and animal food. The CMO also serves as spokesperson during outbreaks.
Throughout her 28-year career as a state epidemiologist in Maine, Dr. Gensheimer provided medical and epidemiological guidance and consultation on the control of infectious diseases to numerous teams, state-level administrative officials, medical professionals, diagnostic laboratories and professional and voluntary health organizations. In addition, she served as the spokesperson on public health issues and provided input on public health policy and bio-emergency pandemic preparedness efforts. Additionally, Dr. Gensheimer has served as a public health consultant in the area of infectious disease, providing among other things, program evaluation of surveillance systems and outbreak management and control strategies.
The CORE Network includes all the key, strategic FDA resources in place in the field—these include, but are not limited to the District offices and Regional Specialists, the Rapid Response Teams that work with our state partners; the Office of Crisis Management at FDA; FDA's Offices of Public Affairs and External Relations; and the subject matter experts at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The goals of CORE are goals all of us at FDA share: more in-depth signal, trending and surveillance; streamlined decision making and quicker response time if an outbreak occurs; seamless coordination and enhanced communication; and ultimately, increased public health protection leading to effective preventive food safety practices and policies.
More Information: CORE Network Background Paper