In this issue:
- Minnesota Emergency Health Powers Act
- Commissioner Of Health’s Terrorism Task Force
- Terrorism Preparedness and Response
- New Fact Sheets Available From OSHA
- HAZMAT Training Funds Available
- National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- CDC Announces New Goals And Organizational Design
The conference committee on HF 2175 approved continuing the Minnesota Emergency Health powers through August 1, 2005. The committee did not adopt the other emergency health powers proposed in the original bill. MDH will keep all of you informed on our plans for pursuing the initiatives not passed this year by the legislature.
MDH thanks everyone in the public health and emergency management communities for their ongoing support and interest in the legislation.
The task force met on May 18, 2004 at the MDH Snelling Office Park office. The meeting included opening remarks by the Commissioner of Health, Dianne Mandernach. The Commissioner commended the important work that is performed by emergency responders on a daily basis. Assistant Commissioner, Aggie Leitheiser provided an overview of the passage of the Emergency Health Powers Act. Robert Einweck, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness discussed the CDC grant funding for next year. As of yet, the CDC still has not issued grant guidance to states. Additional topics included hospital preparedness, mental health planning and an update by Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The next task force meeting is scheduled for August 10, 2004, from 1:00 – 3:30 at the MDH Snelling Office Park office, Mississippi room.
The May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases contains several articles on SARS with a focus on: perspectives, research, and infection control and hospital preparedness.
- Asian SARS Outbreak Challenged International and National Responses
A REPORT FROM THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO)
The primary focus of the GAO report is on those parts of Asia most severely affected by SARS during the 2002-2003 outbreak, including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In order to analyze the response to the SARS outbreak, the GAO conducted fieldwork in Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, China; and in Taipei, Taiwan.The GAO met with public health officials, including senior Ministry of Health staff, international epidemiologists, and local hospital workers. The report is also supplemented with information from interviews with World Health Organization and U.S. government officials responsible for managing the response to SARS.
HOW PREPARED ARE AMERICANS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
EMERGENCIES? TWELVE COMMUNITIES WEIGH IN
U.S. communities have made much progress since 9/11, but gaps in preparedness still remain, by Megan McHugh, Andrea B. Staiti, and Laurie E. Felland
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, emergency preparedness has become a top priority in metropolitan areas, and some of these areas have received considerable federal funding to help support improvements. Although much progress has been made, preparedness still varies across communities, with the larger communities exhibiting stronger response capabilities. However, some weaknesses are still evident, particularly in the areas of communications and workforce education. Experience with other public health emergencies, strong leadership, successful collaboration, and adequate funding contributed to high states of readiness. Important challenges include a shortage of funding, delay in the receipt of federal funding, and staffing shortages. For a full text version of the article click on the link: How Prepared Are Americans For Public Health Emergencies? Twelve Communities Weigh In
PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is the national nonprofit organization representing the state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia. ASTHO's members, who are the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy, and to assuring excellence in state-based public health practice. This organization distributes a newsletter that is focused on public health preparedness.
The following fact sheets are now available online from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
- Planning and Responding to Workplace Emergencies (PDF: 2 pages)
- Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering a funding opportunity for HAZMAT training.
The grant announcement was posted on May 17, 2004 and the completed application is due on August 19, 2004. Eligible Applicants include the following:
City or township governments
Special district governments
Independent school districts
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Native American tribal organizations
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
For profit organizations other than small businesses
On March 1, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its approval of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and released the National Incident Management System document, which outlines the principal components of the system and establishes mechanisms for further development and refinement of supporting national standards, guidelines, protocols, systems, and technologies.
Mandated by the Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, Management of Domestic Incidents, the NIMS is designed to provide a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, local, and tribal governments to work together effectively and efficiently to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. It represents a core set of doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes to enable effective collaborative incident management and will serve as the framework for the National Response Plan (NRP), also mandated by HSPD-5.In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed a training course designed to train emergency response personnel on the NIMS. IS-700 National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Director Dr. Julie Gerberding announced on May 13, 2004 new goals and integrated operations that will allow the federal public health agency to have greater impact on the health of people around the world. The announcement evolved from an ongoing strategic development process called the Futures Initiative which began a year ago at the CDC and has included hundreds of employees, other agencies, organizations, and the public.
Dr. Gerberding announced that the CDC will align its priorities and investments under two overarching health protection goals: 1)Preparedness: All people in all communities will be protected from infectious, environmental, and terrorists threats. 2)Health Promotion and Prevention of Disease, Injury and Disability: All people will achieve their optimal lifespan with the best possible quality of health in every stage of life. In addition, the agency is developing more targeted goals to assure an improved impact on health at every stage of life including infants and toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.The integrated organization coordinates the agency’s existing operational units into four coordinating centers to help the agency leverage its resources to be more nimble in responding to public health threats and emerging issues as well as chronic health conditions.