“It’s a whole of government effort—or ought to be. Homeland Security has a piece of this, but Health and Human Services, CDC, the State Department and Foreign Aid should come into this. The most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves from pandemic disease is to defend forward, as I’ve described it, which is to help and assist other countries to prevent those diseases before they get to our shores. So this has to be a whole of government effort which is why it’s got to be coordinated out of the White House. All of the gaps that Zeke [Emanuel] was talking about, that Jennifer [Nuzzo] was talking about—those are gaps that the White House ought to be identifying by working tightly and very closely with state and local officials.

“I served in the White House during the Ebola epidemic. We convened regular conference calls and discussions with state and local public health officials. What gaps they were seeing, what assistance did they need, and then helping to coordinate very, very quickly. That’s got to be done out of the White House and across the government.”

Watch the full interview here: