May 2016 - Guardian of Public Health

Bureau of EMS, Trauma & Preparedness

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News and Articles

As Zika Advances, Can the US Cope?

The Zika virus that is advancing on the United States is unlike any other outbreak the country has faced, and countering it will require an effort unlike anything the U.S. and its public health infrastructure has done before.

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Training & Events

A Four-Part Webinar Series
APHA and ecoAmerica are proud to co-sponsor a four-part webinar series investigating the health impacts of climate change. The series explores the connection between climate change and key areas of our health: allergies and asthma; health risks in children; mental health; and transportation and healthy community design as a mitigation approach.


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Tools & Resources

2016 National Health Security Index

The new National Health Security Index has been released.  The Index combines measures from multiple sources and perspectives to offer a broad view of the health protections in place for the nation as a whole and for each U.S. state. Read More>>

Public Health System Training in Disaster Recovery

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health developed a training program, designed for local public health agency workers, which focuses on individual and organizational contributions to disaster recovery. The program includes materials for trainers and materials for learners. 

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Michigan Prepares


MI Volunteer Registry

About the Guardian

The Guardian of Public Health is a monthly newsletter from the Bureau of EMS, Trauma, and Preparedness (BETP) within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The Guardian aims to provide its readers with relevant content on topics that affect the public health of citizens and communities in Michigan. For questions or comments please contact Kerry Chamberlain at

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The Michigan Update

Livingston County MRC Takes Home Two 2016 MRC Program Recognition Awards

Virginia Zimmerman – MI Volunteer Register & MRC Coordinator Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness

Livingston County Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) was one of two units that received the Community Resilience MRC Program Recognition Award, having demonstrated contributions to resilience at the community level in daily unit operations and through involvement in activities and events. Volunteers performed various roles, such as nurses for blood draws, and support staff at lead testing clinics for the Flint Response. With Michigan’s new immunization waiver education program and educational requirement for Michigan parents opting out of getting their children vaccinated, the MRC stepped in to support the local health department requirements. MRC volunteers supported the seasonal vaccination effort by providing waiver education, parent consultations, phone bank calls, and scheduling appointments. By advocating, educating, and providing vaccination services to the residents in their community, they are contributing to the community’s ability to be more resilient.

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Changing climate conditions: An emerging public health threat in Michigan

Aaron Ferguson - MICHAP Program Manager, Division of Environmental Health, Bureau of Epidemiology and Population Health

Michigan’s climate is changing in measurable and impactful ways. Since 1951 the average annual temperature and precipitation have increased by up to 1.3°F and 1.4 inches in some areas of the state, respectively. Those changes coincide with shifting seasonal patterns and increases in extreme heat and precipitation events, which threaten our natural and built environments and in particular, human health. With such changes projected to continue throughout the 21st century, it is critical that public health officials, citizens, and decision makers from local and state government understand the relationships between health and climate change as well as strategies to increase the resilience of their communities. 

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Upcoming Specialty Training in Region 2 South

Amy Shehu - Region 2 South Healthcare Coalition Coordinator

Region 2 South will be holding two training events in 2016. 

Based on a 2012 Hazmat incident at a hospital in Region 2 South, the region partnered with the Hazmat Coordinator at that facility to develop plans to establish a Region 2 South Technical Support and Response Team (TSRT) and purchase specialized equipment.  To ensure ongoing familiarity with this specialized equipment and encourage ongoing participation from team members a training will be held July 27, 2016.

Region 2 South Healthcare Coalition is conducting the annual Technical Support Team (TST) training this summer. Region 2 South is the housing agency responsible for maintaining operational readiness for Michigan’s one-hundred bed Transportable Emergency Surge Assistance (MI-TESA) unit. This operational readiness is achieved in part by maintaining a trained and exercised TST. The 2016 Technical Support Team Training will be held in August 20 and 21, 2016.

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Zika Virus and Birth Defects — Reviewing the Evidence for Causality

In the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers explore the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects. They explored current data and utilized three different methods to assess causality.  Their assessment showed strong evidence that Zika virus infection in pregnant women causes birth defects.  The researchers also suggest that the true risk factors of birth defects are not known.  Read More>>


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Lack of Evidence Supporting the Effectiveness
of Disaster Supply Kits

Researchers in the American Journal of Public Health explored the effectiveness of disaster supply kits. They reviewed the literature and found a lack of evidence that disaster supply kits promote self-sufficiency and resilience.  They cited 13 major barriers to creating a disaster supply kit including lack of knowledge of preparedness and emergency preparedness information that is written at a high level.  The researchers do not suggest forgoing disaster supply kit education, however, there is a need for more research as to why they are not as effective as they should be.  Read More>>