Public Health Practices

Evaluation of flooding response leads to data- and image-based preparedness, response plan

After Lawrence County in southern Illinois experienced severe flooding in 2008, planners built GIS maps using community data to develop a strategy for future emergency events.

HSEEP-based emergency exercise toolkit tailors tabletop exercises to the needs of hospitals and health facilities

Chicago's toolkit walks users through planning a heat wave and medical surge scenario for a healthcare tabletop exercise.

Retrofitting a city bus for medical evacuations and respiratory therapy

Chicago first responders developed ways to provide oxygen therapy on buses during large-scale evacuations.

Students serve as peer educators

The University of Chicago trained peer health educators to assist with vaccination clinics and provide influenza self-care information across campus.

Quality Improvement Redesign a Tool in Pandemic Planning and Response

The University of Chicago needed to act quickly in late April 2009 when it discovered a Medical Center staff member was diagnosed with H1N1 as cases of the virus were appearing in California and Mexico. Lacking complete knowledge about the scope of the outbreak and the morbidity and mortality rate, Student Care Center (SCC) director Dr.

Malcolm Gladwell theory employed in vaccine distribution

The University of Chicago used a popular theory to place H1N1 influenza vaccination sites in areas with high student traffic.

Students Developed Housing Plan in Response to H1N1

The 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu outbreak forced the University of Chicago to make immediate housing plans after the flu virus was first identified in California and Mexico. So, when H1N1 hit in 2009, two things happened that influenced their response strategy immediately, said Dr. Kristine Bordenave, director of the Student Care Center (SCC): One, the university had one of the first H1N1 infections in the nation, a hospital staff member; and two, the timing of the academic year.

HR guidance development

A University of Illinois infectious disease work group worked with departments and unions to develop guidelines for handling employee illness during H1N1.

Self-Isolation: The Family Home Option

The University of Illinois describes its H1N1 response as successful, largely due to its comprehensive approach to identifying and isolating ill students. Often, ill students recovered under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Communications With Parents

Parents were considered an important stakeholder group for communications during the H1N1 response at the University of Illinois. As part of the outreach to parents, Dr. David Lawrance, Medical Director at McKinley Health Center, wrote letters for an electronic newsletter that is distributed to up to 20,000 parents of Illinois students. The letters "had a tremendous reach and kept parental complaints down to a very small number.

Self-Isolation: The On-Campus Option

Although the University of Illinois was able to send many H1N1-infected students home to recover with their parents, an on-campus option was needed. Illinois has among the most international students of any college campus in the United States, said Jim Rooney, EDD, Associate Director of Housing. More than 2,700 of those students are undergraduates, who tend to live on campus.

Organizing the Emergency Operations Center

Although the University of Illinois did not need to stand up its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or Incident Command Post (ICP) for the H1N1 pandemic, the school had a plan in place that would have allowed that to happen quickly.

Food Workers Learn about Flu

Throughout the country, health departments have struggled with how to best reach medically underserved populations during the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic. In Illinois, the Kane County Health Department implemented an innovative communication strategy that involved local sanitarians in their outreach efforts.

Mass vaccination clinic held at baseball stadium

Planners in Kane County, Illinois, partnered with a local baseball team to hold kid-friendly H1N1 vaccination clinics at the stadium.

Collecting medical countermeasure data

The Illinois Department of Health created an online survey tool to collect data on countermeasure supply and distribution from local health agencies and hospitals.

Illinois faith-based preparedness initiative

An inter-agency partnership developed tools by which churches can measure disaster risk and ability to provide emergency services.

Emergency preparedness tips for those with functional needs guidebook

An interdisciplinary team created a guidebook for addressing the needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and people with chronic health conditions during a disaster.

Emergency Preparedness Bag Project

A simple and straightforward practice shows how a modest grant and local volunteers can have significant preparedness benefits for vulnerable residents in a community. The health department leveraged about $5,000 from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and a total of 131 hours to purchase and compile emergency preparedness materials for people with special needs.

Pandemic Influenza Mini-Grant Program

McHenry County creatively used its pandemic planning budget to issue mini-grants to cities, school districts, and township governments. McHenry County provided a $5,000 mini-grant with the requirement that recipients develop a pandemic plan, write educational materials, and hold a town hall meeting with their constituents. The county made their planners available to answer questions and offered links to resources.

Preparedness Notebook: Pandemic Influenza

Preparedness Notebook is a newspaper insert that provides a solid background on several issues related to pandemic preparedness. Topics include definitions of seasonal, avian, and pandemic influenza; vaccine availability; and personal preparedness. The document also includes a section of age-appropriate and visually appealing materials for children that feature games and preparedness messages taught by a panda bear.

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