An Arizona partnership between public health and independent living advocates embarked on a project to better integrate people with functional needs into general population shelters during an emergency. The state health department purchased durable and adaptive equipment to support up to 1,000 people in shelters, and is currently training healthcare organizations to anticipate and meet the needs of people with functional disabilities during a disaster.
By law, tribal governments are sovereign and operate independently of state governments. During a public health emergency, however, overriding authority resides with the state governor. To build the relationship between tribal and state governments and better understand government roles during emergency preparedness planning and response, Arizona organized an executive committee consisting of eight tribal representatives and one state representative.
Two years before the emergence of novel H1N1 virus, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) formed a unique partnership with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to collaborate on pandemic influenza preparedness efforts.
In October of 2009, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) noticed a disproportionate number of H1N1 hospitalizations and deaths among American Indians (AI). Similar findings in other states led to the formation of a multidisciplinary workgroup that compiled surveillance data from 12 states. The preliminary results indicated that AI were twice as likely as the general population to be hospitalized with severe complications or die from novel H1N1 flu.