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– Frank Holtzhauer, director Ohio Center for Public Health Preparedness. This mobile tent hospital is similar to those used in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Shown is a small portion of the mobile hospital.

and terrorists-initiated events that professionals will be trained to look for,” Holtzhauer says. The program has trained almost 40 individuals. The Ohio Public Health Exercise Portal, devoted entirely to public health exercises in Ohio, will house training models, exercise dates, documents and other communications that can be shared across the seven homeland security regions within the state. For example, OCPHP is taking the lead nationwide in developing a simulation training model of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). A model is already in place for emergency first responders, such as police officers and firefighters. The new model will be customized for public health professionals and will post the training dates on the portal. The NIMS simulation model, a virtual “whose in charge” effort, details Ohio localities’ command structure during an emergency or threat.

Ohio Centers for Public Health Preparedness Center for Terrorism Preparedness – University of Findlay School of Environmental and Emergency Management http://seem.findlay.edu/ Center for Emergency Preparedness – Cleveland State University Division of Continuing Education http://www.csuohio.edu/ce/Oldpgms/cemergprep.html Northeastern Ohio Consortium for Biopreparedness – Kent State University http://cphp.kent.edu Ohio Center for Public Health Preparedness – Ohio State University School of Public Health School of Public Health Office of Workforce Development http://sph.osu.edu/cphp

“We’re filling a need,” Holtzhauer says of the NIMS training. Today more than ever, the crux of public health practitioners’ readiness relies on key competencies, says J. Mac Crawford, RN, PhD, assistant professor in SPH’s Division of Environmental Health Studies. “Public health has always been involved in response, but that role is now more front and center,” he adds. Crawford, who teaches a seminar on public health preparedness and a new course for undergraduates, notes that public health emergency responders must be proficient in at least nine core competencies, as outlined by the CDC (see inset). All this activity prompts the need to explore practitioners’ needs, says Timothy J. Buckley, PhD, associate professor and chair of SPH’s Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Buckley is working with OCPHP faculty on a proposal that will explore issues from a research perspective. “This will span the entire spectrum,” he says, “from basic bench-type research to applied research and ultimately, what practitioners will need in order to respond to these kind of disasters.” OCPHP has already proven a powerful resource. After Hurricane Katrina, OCPHP trained 40 staff from the Ohio Department of Health who were leaving for the Gulf region. The OCPHP also offered to help the Columbus Health Department process any evacuees headed to Ohio. In another preparedness move, OPHLI graduate Mike Ottaway, public health emergency response coordinator in Hamilton County, and his colleagues created the concept of using a 210-bed mobile tent system to create a comprehensive alternative care center, thought to be the largest portable civilian modular field hospital in the nation. The tent was held in reserve for use following Hurricane Rita. Steve Wagner, JD, MPH, assistant division chief of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness, applauds OCPHP’s efforts in providing public health professionals ready access to preparedness training, and in creating an atmosphere of collaboration among the other university-based centers. Indeed, today’s environment offers opportunities and challenges for public health professionals, Holtzhauer says. If anything, he says, it means “everybody’s job has changed.”

Advancing Knowledge. Improving Life.

“We’re much better prepared to identify and respond to emerging and unusual diseases like the avian flu, SARS, and other emerging infections and terroristsinitiated events.”

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Impact Magazine 2006  

The research magazine of Ohio State's College of Public Health

Impact Magazine 2006  

The research magazine of Ohio State's College of Public Health

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