Public Health Preparedness and Response


The Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) Branch supports emergency preparedness for all types of disasters—natural and man -made. The Branch fosters preparedness within communities by supporting health and medical system response through readiness activities; supports county efforts to respond to public health threats and events through collaborative activities in monitoring and planning of responses; and promotes preparedness through drills, training, and exercises to ensure that county public health and medical staff can effectively respond to disasters and emergencies. 

Units and Programs:

  • Contract & Grant Administration Unit
  • EPI—Bioterrorism Unit
  • Programs and Planning Unit
  • Exercise and Response Unit

San Diego Healthcare Disaster Coalition

The San Diego Disaster Healthcare Coalition (SDHDC) provides a forum for a multidisciplinary group of entities to work together to ensure readiness through emergency preparedness and response planning, training, and exercises and to promote preparedness in the healthcare community through standardized practices and integration with response partners. Local healthcare facilities are encouraged to join SDHDC. For more information click here.

San Diego Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) Duty Officer Program

1. Purpose and Scope:

The San Diego Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) Duty Officer Program is a critical component of the County's all-hazards emergency management framework. It serves the overarching purpose of ensuring round-the-clock availability of trained professionals to effectively respond to and manage a wide range of emergencies, from disease outbreaks to natural disasters, safeguarding the well-being of the medical and health community. The Duty Officer program is staffed by the Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) Branch in the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

2. 24/7 Preparedness:

This program operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, ensuring constant readiness to assess, coordinate, and respond to any type of emergency, regardless of the time or nature of the incident. This is an entry to activate the San Diego County Medical Operations Center (MOC) if an incident occurs outside of business hours. This program works closely with the San Diego County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Duty Officer Program. If the MOC is activated for an event, it will be staffed by EMS and PHPR.

3. Duties and Responsibilities:

The San Diego Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) Duty Officer, at the core of the program, plays a pivotal role in managing and overseeing emergency response activities, regardless of the hazard. Their responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring and receiving reports of emergencies, regardless of their nature.
  • Rapidly assessing the magnitude and potential medical or public health impacts of the incident.
  • Coordinating with medical and health facilities, agencies, and stakeholders.
  • Disseminating timely and accurate information to relevant stakeholders.
  • Establish and maintain situational awareness in the medical and health community.
  • Request aid and resources from the region (and state) for medical and health components
  • Making critical decisions regarding resource allocation and escalating the response as circumstances dictate.
  • Distribute and dispense medical countermeasures.
  • To request a San Diego Healthcare Disaster Coalition Cache (Burn, Decontamination, Pediatric Supplies, Ebola supplies)

4. Contact Information:

The Duty Officer acts as the central point of contact for all-hazards emergencies, fostering close collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as community partners. This approach ensures a unified response and seamless coordination, irrespective of the emergency's nature.

24/7 Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) Duty Officer

Phone Number: (619) 772-4247

MHOAC Duty Officer Email:

5. When should my facility contact the Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) Duty Officer? Here are some examples:

  • Evacuation planning
  • Utility and power outages, both planned and unplanned
  • When experiencing medical and health supply chain issues
  • Planned strikes
  • During emergencies when requested by the Medical Operations Center (MOC)
  • Notification that the facility is activating the command center
  • Patient Tracking
  • To support facility reunification efforts
  • For help.  Please note that 9-1-1 should always be called first for medical emergencies. For hospitals, this does not supersede Base Hospital and EMS Procedures.