June 24, 2003
In this issue:
- Changes At The Minnesota Division Of Emergency Management
- Minnesota Duty Officer Program
- CDC and HRSA Grant Application Process
- Regional HRSA Exercise
- Emergency Preparedness Funding Opportunity
- Emergency Preparedness and Mental Health Impact: Recommendations for Public Health
- Stress Management
- Training Resources and Opportunities
- Save The Date! MDH Conference On Emergency Preparedness To Be Held September 11-12, 2003
- Worker’s Compensation
- MDH Office Of Emergency Preparedness Web Site
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety issued a press release on June 18, 2003 about organizational changes at the Division of Emergency Management.
In summary, Commissioner of Public Safety Rich Stanek announced the formation of a new division that combines the functions of the Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management and the Office of Homeland Security.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will coordinate statewide preparedness and response related to disasters, including acts of terrorism The consolidation of the two divisions is consistent with the structure of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which houses and oversees a number of agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Department of Public Safety has not named a director for the new division.
State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl will serve as acting director.
Understanding the role of the Minnesota Duty Officer is fundamental in the response to local, regional and statewide public health emergencies. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (formerly known as the Division of Emergency Management) has vital information about the MN Duty Officer Program.
The site explains the main purpose of the 24-hour Minnesota Duty Officer program,
which is to provide a single point of contact for both public and private sector
entities to call when state-level assistance is
needed or when a state-level notification is
required. For more information contact the division at 651-296-2233.
The Office of Emergency Preparedness is coordinating the applications for the CDC Bioterrorism Cooperative Agreement and the Health Resource Services Administration, (HRSA) Hospital Preparedness Cooperative Agreement. The two grants are due on July 1 to the CDC and HRSA.
CDC Application Process
Various divisions in the MDH have primary responsibility for components of the CDC application. The MDH is also gathering input and guidance from local health departments on the various focus areas of the CDC application by conducting meetings of the combined SCHSAC Local Public Health Preparedness Bioterrorism Review Group and the Terrorism Preparedness Work Group. The role of the Bioterrorism Review Group is to clarify the activities, outcomes and reporting mechanisms for the local Community Health Board bioterrorism grants so that local grantees and MDH are successful in meeting the benchmarks established by the CDC. The charge of the Terrorism Preparedness Workgroup is to provide input to the MDH on development of the Centers for Disease Control cooperative agreement application for fiscal year 2003 Supplemental Funds for Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism.
On May 30 the first combined meeting of the two workgroups provided guidance to MDH. This feedback was incorporated into the first draft of the application. A number of possible funding scenarios were also discussed at that meeting. On June 18 the groups met again to review first draft proposals and react to the suggested funding scenarios.
HRSA Application Process
The HRSA funding application is a collaborative process between the MDH, and Minnesota hospitals. The HRSA application is being developed utilizing subject matter experts from throughout MDH to develop the initial draft. The Hospital Preparedness Subcommittee of the Commissioner of Health’s Terrorism and Health Task Force, reviewed drafts of the application and possible funding scenarios.
On June 10, the Northeast HRSA region conducted a large-scale bioterrorism exercise that involved local, state and federal response assets. The scenario involved a crash of crop duster plane into the Virginia High School. The plane contained weaponized anthrax. Following the plane crash 800 people needed immediate decontamination and there were 400 casualties transported to the 16 hospitals within the Northeast Region.
The magnitude of the event and the threat from anthrax allowed an opportunity for the region to test the requesting procedure for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). In addition, the region coordinated public information messages with the MDH Risk Communications Team in St. Paul.
The exercise demonstrated the importance of a coordinated regional response.
Regional exercises such as the one in Virginia will be a requirement under the next HRSA grant cycle.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announces the availability of funds for 1-2 year (maximum 2 years) research grants that will examine and promote the public health care system's readiness for a bioterrorist event and other public health emergencies through the development of new evidence, tools and models.
AHRQ seeks bioterrorism and other public health emergency preparedness projects that address the following specific priority research areas:
emergency preparedness of hospitals and health care systems for bioterrorism and other public health emergencies
enhanced capacity needs of ambulatory care, home and long term care
care of psychosocial consequences, and other related services during and after a bioterrorist event and other public health emergencies
information technology linkages and emerging communication networks to improve the linkages between the personal health care system emergency response networks and public health agencies
novel uses of health care system training strategies that can prepare community clinicians to recognize and manage a bioterrorist event and other public health emergencies.
Information on this new funding announcement, including eligible institutions and time line, is available on the AHRQ Website: Funding Announcements. Click on PAR-03-130 Building the Evidence to Promote Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergency Preparedness in Health Care Systems). Or, go directly to the NIH Guide .
The Commissioner of Health’s Terrorism and Health Task Force, Mental Health Subgroup developed two companion documents. They are for use by public health agencies and other stakeholders to help identify needed partners and to define roles and responsibilities to address mental health in emergency preparedness planning and activities.
Look for them both under the red bullet titled "Mental Health Subgroup of the Commissioner's Terrorism and Health Task Force."
Local public health departments throughout Minnesota are facing the demands of increasing workloads, staff cuts and shrinking budgets. In the current environment stress can flourish and cause problems at work and at home. A couple of websites provide useful information on how to deal with stress in a positive manner.
- American Institute of Stress
Offers a large volume of stress related information that is downloadable.
- Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
This site also offers a variety of resources and information that public health professionals may find helpful in coping with stress.
Many of you are seeking training opportunities that will prepare you and your agency to respond to threats from terrorism. A website titled A Review of Training Resources for Terrorism Response compiled several web link sources that contain training information and course offerings: The U.S. Department of Justice, The National Emergency Training Center, The U.S. Public Health Service, The National Terrorism Preparedness Institute, The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, and the Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Research and Development to Improve Civilian Medical Response (1999) Report are represented on this site.
In past years, the MDH Community Health Division has hosted two separate conferences: a Community Health Conference and a Rural Health Conference. This year, the two conferences will be combined. This decision was made because of the high degree of public health and health care system activity and interest in bioterrorism and emergency preparedness, and the continued interest in streamlining department activities. The focus of this conference is on statewide health emergency preparedness.
The conference will be held at Breezy Point Resort, in Breezy Point, Minnesota, on September 11-12, 2003. Pre-conference SCHSAC meetings will be held on September 10, 2003.
During phase one of the Minnesota Smallpox Vaccination Program many questions surfaced around compensation for vaccinees, who are injured by smallpox vaccination. Although this issue may not be in the forefront right now it may be the perfect time to stay acquainted during this quieter period with the legal related issues concerning mass vaccination of health care personnel. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) has a website that discusses the legal issues related to vaccination.
In addition, DOLI has another site pertaining to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and its relationship to Minnesota Worker’s Compensation coverage. The site is a question and answer format that addresses how health care providers must comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule when providing care to individuals injured in a work-related incident.
The current OEP Web Site at offers a variety of resources for local public health departments, hospitals and others. Listed below is a current listing of the materials available.
- Bioterrorism – for the public or for professionals
- Chemical Terrorism
- Drinking Water Supply: Protecting from Terrorism
- Food Supply: Protecting from Terrorism
- Mental Health Impact
- Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism
- Planning Resources
- Smallpox Basic Information
- Smallpox Pre-Event Planning Resources
- Smallpox Post-Event Resources
- Smallpox Vaccination Clinic Guide, CDC
- Local Public Health Resources
- Training Events
- CDC Bioterrorism Update: Smallpox Preparedness web cast
- Advanced Topics on Medical Defense against Biological and Chemical Agents: A six-part series
- Radiation Training for First Responders
- Incident Management Systems – IMS Training Materials and Site Coordinator Materials
- Community Health Division training sessions\
- Training Resources
- Bioterrorism and Emergency Readiness: Competencies for all Public Health Workers
- Emergency Preparedness Response – Links to CDC, FEMA: Basic Incident Command System and University of Minnesota Center for Public Health Education and Outreach/Midwest Center
- Smallpox information provided by CDC and MDH
- 2003 Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Program
- 2002 Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Program
- 2002 Public Health Bioterrorism Preparedness Grant
- Risk Communication and Resources
- A source of basic information on risk communication and related topics—for local public health professionals, health care providers, and others who may be called on to respond to a public health emergency.
Legal / Legislative
- Emergency Health Powers Act
- Smallpox Legal / Legislative Issues
- Terrorism and Health Task Force