Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

Ready or Not 2010

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

[Flahiff’s note: Here in Northwest Ohio, one area of concern is Lake Erie water sampling for organisms as E. coli and toxic algae. For years a private college was doing the testing with their own funds. The funds have dried up and the state is still trying to come up with reliable funding.]

A December 16 item from the listserv DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB, by the Disaster Information Management Research Center***, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The findings of this report by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are that budget cuts have imperiled a decade of progress in how the nation prevents, identifies, and contains new disease outbreaks and bioterrorism threats and responds to the aftermath of natural disasters.
Section 1 of the report provides a state by state evaluation on 10 key preparedness indicators in areas as funding, communication, planning, and staffing.
Section 2 of the report examines current federal policy issues and gives recommendations for improving disaster preparedness.
Gaps in preparedness are outlined (as workforce gaps) and examples of major emergency public health threats are identified. Hallmarks of all-hazards preparedness are also identified and National Health Security Strategy is outlined.
The report also includes expert perspectives national strategies and over 70 scientific/medical references in the endnotes section.

Key Findings of this Report (from page 5 of the report)

  • 33 states and D.C. cut funding for public health from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10.
  • Only 7 states can not currently share data electronically with health care providers.
  • 10 states do not have an electronic syndromic surveillance system that can report and exchange information.
  • Only six states reported that pre-identified staff were not able to acknowledge notification of emergency exercises or incidents within the target time of 60 minutes at least twice during 2007-08.
  • Six states did not activate their emergency operations center (EOC) a minimum of two times in 2007-08.
  • Only two states did not develop at least two After-Action Report/Improvement Plans (AAR/IPs) after exercises or real incidents in 2007-08.
  • 25 states do not mandate all licensed child care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plan.
  • 21 states were not able to rapidly identify disease-causing E.coli O157:H7 and submit the lab results in 90 percent of cases within four days during 2007-08.
  • Only three states and D.C. report not having enough staffing capacity to work five, 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious disease outbreak, such as novel influenza A H1N1.
  • Only one state decreased their Laboratory Response Network for Chemical Threats (LRN-C) chemical capability from August 10, 2009 to August 9, 2010.

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***Disaster Information Management Research Center

Disaster Information Management Research Center

The Disaster Information Management Research Center  (DIMRC) helpswith national emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. As part of NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) division, DIMRC collects, organizes, and disseminates health information resources and informatics research related to disasters of natural, accidental, or deliberate origin.

It focuses on maintaining access to health information during disasters and developing services and projects for emergency providers and managers . (From the DMIRC about page).

A sampling of DMIRC resources

  • Librarians and Disasters has links to resources and tools as a bibliography on the librarian’s role in disasters and links to related listservs. The Emergency Access Initiative provides temporary free access to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters.


    December 17, 2010 - Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , , ,

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