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Director's Update
Mike Harryman HSPR director
As another year comes to a close, the Health Security, Preparedness and Response Program has been busy exercising, responding to public health emergency events, and educating the community about general emergency preparedness.
 
In October, I had the opportunity to visit elementary schools in the Portland area to talk with kids about emergency preparedness. Several schools around the state are gearing up for Oregon’s Robotics Tournament; it’s a fun way to get kids involved in science, engineering, technology and math. This year the project’s theme is Nature’s Fury, in which teams will be presenting their work at the Dec. 14 event.. We wish them good luck!
 
SERV-OR and several Medical Reserve Corps units were also busy in September assisting with the annual Central Oregon Project Connect event in Deschutes County. A total of 804 professional and community volunteers provided services to 2,265 guests experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The SERV-OR program participates in order to exercise the official deployment of large numbers of volunteer health care professionals.
 
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has been working with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the Army Corps of Engineers to plan and evaluate health care facilities and resource allocation procedures in order to respond to a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. The type of interagency work is critical to ensuring statewide emergency resilience.
 
OHA is continuing to develop the Crisis Standards of Care guidance for the entire health care system. Many health care facilities are sponsoring the document. The latest draft is available on the program’s “Resources for Partners” Web page.
 
The OHA Public Health Division is welcoming new Director Lillian Shirley, R.N., M.P.H., M.P.A., who has been a local and a national leader in advancing public health. She has led the Multnomah County Health Department and the National Association of City and County Health Officials, and currently serves as the organization’s Immediate Past President. Lillian has been a leader in Oregon’s effort to transform our state’s health care system. In her current role as Director of the Multnomah County Health Department and on the governing board of Health Share of Oregon, she helped launch one of the first coordinated care organizations. She also is the vice chairwoman of the Oregon Health Policy Board, and she played a vital role in the state’s move towards a health care system that works better for us all. The entire preparedness program looks forward to Lillian’s guidance and leadership.
 
The National Health Security Preparedness Index (being released in December) is a new way to measure and advance our nation's preparedness. It 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. Future versions of the Index will add other sectors to more fully illustrate the wide variety of elements contributing to health security preparedness. The 2013 Oregon Index Results provides agencies with information regarding the state's health capabilities. The Index provides Oregon an opportunity to focus on potential strengths and to better develop and strengthen partnerships and collaborations to improve health security.
 
Winter weather is fast approaching, so make sure to check your home, car and office emergency kits. Need a reminder on what to put into your kit? Check out these short videos from the preparedness team! Don’t forget to check the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Trip Check website before long trips in and around your community. 
 
Next: We Welcome Akiko Saito as our New Operations Chief
 
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