By Talia Gad and Lynda Neal
The Multnomah County Health Department was awarded the Public Health Preparedness Recognition after meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Lillian Shirley, director of the Multnomah County Health Department. “We will continue to work with our preparedness partners to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Multnomah County.”
Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a thorough evaluation process by a national peer review. They must meet expectations in public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning, workforce competency, and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event.
"It was a rigorous process,” said Jerusha Kasch, Multnomah County Health Department, Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager, “but we are better prepared after having gone through the intensive evaluation.”
The process for receiving the recognition involved hundreds of qualification requirements ranging from hazard preparedness planning to work force capacity development to systems for quality improvement. After months of preparation, planning and infrastructure fortification, the team met their goal.
"It was an arduous undertaking,” said Jim Spitzer, retired emergency preparedness manager for the Multnomah County Health Department, “but we learned a great deal from the agencies who successfully went before us. The Oregon Health Security, Preparedness and Response staff who assisted us with our application were an invaluable resource, and we couldn't have done it without their expertise."
Since 2004, more than 300 LHDs have been recognized as meeting all the PPHR requirements individually or working collaboratively as a region. Previous Oregon awardees are Washington County Health and Human Services and North Central Public Health District.
Local health departments interested in applying for PPHR recognition may speak with their state public health liaison; contact Lynda Neal, PPHR lead for Oregon, at 971-673-0570 or email@example.com; or visit NACCHO.
Oregon counties earn national recognition for public health preparedness efforts, Ready to Respond Summer 2012
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