As the new year is underway, 2014 looks to bring change, important events and interesting activities.
In December, the Public Health Division welcomed Lillian Shirley as the new Public Health Director. With an extensive background in public health and commitment to serving Oregonians, Ms. Shirley will be a key partner in our preparedness activities and events.
Several key reports have been published recently that are worth your time and attention.
In November, the National Health Security Preparedness Index created a new way to measure and advance our nation’s preparedness. The Index represents the most comprehensive set of health security preparedness measures to date. The 2013 Index consists primarily of public health and health care system measures.
For Oregon, the Index gives us a way to measure our progress towards becoming a more prepared and resilient state. The Index identified three key areas that Oregon public health will work to build: surge management, health surveillance and countermeasure management. Sustaining areas were identified as incident/information management and community planning and engagement. For the full report, go to www.nhspi.org
In December, Trust for America’s Health published Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases. To help assess policies and the capacity to protect against infectious disease outbreaks, this report examines a range of infectious disease concerns and a series of 10 indicators in each state that, taken collectively, offer a composite snapshot of strengths and vulnerabilities as well as a range of national and global infectious disease priorities. While federal, state and local health departments all have roles to play, state have the primary legal jurisdiction and responsibility for the health of their citizens. The report provides the public, policymakers and a broad and diverse set of groups involved in public health with an objective, nonpartisan, independent analysis of the status of infectious disease policies. It encourages greater transparency and accountability of the system and recommends ways to ensure the public health system meets today’s needs and works across boundaries to accomplish its goals. The report focuses on areas with high-priority policy concerns including: foundational capabilities and funding for public health, vaccine preventable diseases, emerging infectious diseases, emergency outbreaks-bioterrorism and high-risk new diseases, foodborne and waterborne illness and HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis prevention. To see the entire report, go to www.healthyamericans.org
As we move into Budget Period 3 (BP3), Congress has passed a budget with specific amounts for PHEP and HPP grants still to be determined. While there are projected double digit decreases in the HPP budgets, we will strive to determine our best options for both grants moving forward with a focus on improving preparedness for all Oregonians.
For the first time, Oregon will host the 11th Annual Pacific Northwest Health Border Alliance on May 12-14 in Portland. Participants will include Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Montana, with Canadian participation from three provinces. More details to follow so watch for HAN messages containing details.
Finally I’d like to acknowledge the important work of our VISTA volunteers. Our current group of nine VISTAs will be leaving in April with a new group coming on board in May. Special thanks to Lucy Moore and her team for the important work they do around the state.
Next: HSPR welcomes Kris Hansen
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