November 30 , 2004
In this issue:
- Upcoming Events/Conferences
- Fundamentals of Medical Planning in Support of Emergency Response in Medical Environment
- Upcoming Events/Satellite Conferences
- Live Response: Coordinating Local WMD Training
- Mass Antibiotic Dispensing: Volunteer Staffing (SNS)
- CoMNET: Consequence Management News, Equipment & Training
- ASTHO Public Health Preparedness: Upcoming Events, Resources, Reports
- Commissioner’s Task Force minutes
- More materials for you to read!
- Public Health Emergency Response Guide for state, local and tribal public health directors
- DA guide for local governments, Emergency Preparedness…for people with disabilities
- Office of State and Local government coordination & preparedness
- Redefining readiness: Terrorism Planning through the Eyes of the Public
- 24- Hour Clinician Information lLne, MMWR
- Training opportunities
- Preventing Infections : Infection Control for Pre-Hospital Providers
Emergency and Community Health Outreach (ECHO) is a new television program that offers public health advisories and emergency alerts in six languages for Minnesota’s refugee and immigrant populations. This program allows people to get good information about their health in ways that respect their culture. ECHO TV currently reaches people who speak Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The show offers monthly health awareness and emergency preparedness educational programs on Twin Cities Public Television Channel 17. Examples include:
- September: What is ECHO
- October: All about Flu and Pandemic Flu
- November: From Household Poisons to Hazardous Chemicals
In addition, ECHO TV will provide critical messages and information to these populations during a statewide health or safety emergency.
ECHO is made up of a coalition of many public health agencies and community-based organizations, including the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, more than 35 Local Public Health agencies, private voluntary sector organizations, and leaders from the cultural communities served by the ECHO project.
Special recognition goes to Lillian McDonald, Public Information Officer & ECHO Chair, Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health, for her tremendous dedication in bringing ECHO to its first broadcast show.
September 10, 2004 Press Release
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the third anniversary of the worst attack on American soil marks a time to remember the lives lost and their families, take measure of the tremendous progress made in bolstering our nation's preparedness for another attack, and reaffirm our commitment to further strengthening our nation's public health system. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the nation's public health infrastructure has been strengthened, hospitals' surge capacities have grown, new science to limit the dangers of bioterrorism have been created, and antidotes to deadly agents and other medical countermeasures have been produced and stockpiled.
Yet, Secretary Thompson warns there is more work to do and the nation must remain vigilant and dedicated to further strengthening our public health system and preparedness for a terrorist attack.
"The evil of the terrorist mind is difficult to comprehend but too dangerous to ignore," Secretary Thompson said. "Because of that, we must continue preparing for every contingency, every possibility -- including the use of biological and chemical agents in an attack on our citizens."
President Bush is proud of the progress the nation has made since Sept. 11, but continues to push America forward in its ability to protect the homeland and respond to another attack, Secretary Thompson said. "It truly is remarkable how far we've come in three short years," Secretary Thompson said. "From Washington to Main Street, we're better able to protect our citizens from bioterrorism. We've developed and stockpiled new medicines, and we're researching cutting-edge ways to further secure our citizens.
"We were able to strengthen our capabilities so quickly because of unprecedented cooperation between federal, state and local governments as well as the medical and public health communities. We must use these new partnerships to continue driving forward so that our public health infrastructure is as strong as possible. We must get stronger every day and never waver in our commitment to this task."
Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure
Since Sept. 11, 2001, HHS has invested more than $4.1 billion in strengthening the nation's public health infrastructure. In three installments over the past three years, HHS has distributed funding to hospitals, health care facilities, states, territories, and four major metropolitan areas to strengthen the ability of government and public health agencies to respond to bioterror attacks, infectious diseases and natural disasters.
Hospitals will use the funds they receive from states to effect a rapid temporary expansion of bed capacity to accommodate mass casualties, increase isolation and decontamination capacity, identify qualified volunteer health care workers to augment hospital staff to deal with mass casualties, and plan for hospital-based and community ready pharmaceutical caches.
Public health departments in the states, territories and metro areas will use this funding to improve the readiness of the public health sector and other major health care providers to respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.
The Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Metro Region newsletter has an article about Minnesota mental health emergency preparedness planning in the June 2004 edition as its lead story.
Influenza A viruses periodically cause worldwide epidemics, or pandemics, with high rates of illness and death. Unlike other public welfare emergencies, an influenza pandemic will impact multiple communities across the United States and require swift and coordinated action and cooperation by all levels of government. Advanced planning for a large scale and widespread health emergency is required to optimize health care delivery during a pandemic. In addition, prevention and preparedness activities facilitate the response and recovery during and after an influenza pandemic.
The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan describes a coordinated Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strategy to prepare and respond to an influenza pandemic. The Plan is intended to be dynamic and iterative, and will be updated and revised regularly.In addition to the national Plan, the Minnesota Department of Health and local health departments in Minnesota have developed and continue to revise and update pandemic influenza plans.
This is the topic of a one-day workshop to be held on Friday, October 8, 2004 at Jackpot Junction Casino and Conference Center in Morton, MN from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 pm.
- “Why be Prepared?” Harry Hull, M.D. Minnesota State Epidemiologist
- “Epi 101: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Jan Forfang, M.P.H., Minnesota Department of Health Field Epidemiologist
- “Surge Capacity Issues.” John Hick, M.D., Emergency Physician Hennepin County Medical Center
- “Effective Communication in a Crisis.” Cathy Clark, Public Affairs Coordinator, MNDOT
- “Behavioral Health and Emergency Preparedness.” Nancy Carlson, Planner, Minnesota Department of Health
- “Connecting the Partners Together.” Ed Leier, Assistant Director, Homeland Security Emergency Management
- “Pre-hospital Infection Control and PPE.” Jan Forfang, M.P.H., Minnesota Department of Health Field Epidemiologist
The workshop is targeted for physicians, nurses, administrative staff, infection control practitioners, emergency medical services, public health and tribal government officials, and other personnel in the emergency preparedness field.Public Health Exercise Development and Evaluation
Robert Einweck, MDH Director of Office of Emergency Preparedness, Jayne Griffith, MDH Bioterrorism Epidemiologist and Jim Gangl, Bioterrorism Preparedness Coordinator for St. Louis County, presented "Exercising the Public Health Emergency Preparedness System" at the Community Health Conference on September 23, 2004.
The intent of the hour-long presentation was to provide guidance to those involved in planning or participating in exercises. Topics included an overview of the exercise process, types of exercises, design steps, and personal experience in the conduct of exercises.
The speakers referred to the availability of detailed planning manuals to aid in the design, development, conduct and evaluation of exercises that have been developed by Homeland Security and FEMA for public use.
To view these tools, go to:
- FEMA Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)
- Emergency Management Institute Exercise Design
The Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program (BHPP) continues to plan and upgrade the capacity of the Minnesota health care system to respond to bioterrorism and outbreaks of infectious disease. Major efforts have been underway to inventory and assess airborne isolation capacity in Minnesota hospitals. The Minnesota Department of Health has contracted with the University of Minnesota to assist with this task.
Each hospital has assisted in the process by completing an on-line survey prior to a site visit from MDH and U of M staff. During the visit, basic ventilation analysis and evaluation of airborne infection isolation (AII) rooms will measure particle counts and pressure differentials in hospital-identified AII rooms and the fans that supply those rooms. The areas selected by each hospital for surge capacity is also being evaluated.
Assessment of hospitals is being conducted regionally and prioritized by population. To date, 95 of the 141 hospitals have been assessed. The findings and recommendations will be shared with the regional BHPP planning committees and individual hospitals.
This information will be used to determine how to budget Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds to increase isolation capacity in hospitals. In addition, some hospitals may wish to use institutional funds to upgrade their isolation capacity based on the results and recommendations. If you have questions regarding this project, contact Jeanne Anderson at 612-676-5078.
“Conventional disease surveillance mechanisms that rely on passive reporting may be too slow and insensitive to rapidly detect a large-scale infectious disease outbreak; the reporting time from a patient's initial symptoms to specific disease diagnosis takes days to weeks. To meet this need, new surveillance methods are being developed. Referred to as nontraditional or syndromic surveillance, these new systems typically rely on prediagnostic data to rapidly detect infectious disease outbreaks, such as those caused by bioterrorism. Using data from a large health maintenance organization, we discuss the development, implementation, and evaluation of a time-series syndromic surveillance detection algorithm for influenza like illness in Minnesota.”
Article written by Benjamin Miller,* Heidi Kassenborg,† William Dunsmuir,‡ Jayne Griffith,* Mansour Hadidi,* James D. Nordin,§ and Richard Danila*
*Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; †Minnesota Department of Agriculture, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; ‡University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and §HealthPartners Research Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Healthcare providers have long prepared for natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes, but they are now acutely aware of the need to prepared for nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) terrorism as well. Lacking protection from the elements, homeless people are especially vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters and Health Care for the Homeless providers are at various stages of emergency preparedness. The articles in the publication, Healing Hands, examine preparations being made by the health care community, a special role for HCH mobile providers, and emergency management standards required by the Joint commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Healing Hands is a bimonthly newsletter of the Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians Network.
The organization's contact information is:
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
P.O. Box 60427
Nashville Tennessee 37206-0427
The OEP web site has four state maps that include key MDH Emergency Preparedness contacts, including Public Health Preparedness Consultants Epidemiology Consultants Public Health Nursing Consultants Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program: Public Health Preparedness Consultants and Regional Hospital Resource Center staff.