MDH Emergency Preparedness and Response News - January 2018

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Emergency Preparedness and Response News

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January 2018

In This Edition

From the Director

Cheryl Petersen-Kroeber


The ten days of Super Bowl LII kicks off on Friday, January 26 with events across the Metro area culminating with the big game on February 4. The City of Minneapolis has been coordinating efforts with local, state and federal partners for the past couple years to provide for the health and safety of people attending the Super Bowl events.

During the 10-day event, local emergency operations centers, a multi-agency coordination center (MACC) and the state emergency operation center will all be staffed and ready to support any type of incident by sharing situational awareness and resources. This readiness is the result of thousands of hours of multi-agency planning, training and exercising by emergency management, law enforcement, emergency medical services, healthcare and public health. Everyone involved is focused on providing the best experience possible for thousands of visitors to Minnesota as well as the citizens of our state enjoying this lifetime event.

Super Bowl LII - we are ready!

Addressing Outbreaks: An Ongoing Need

MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control (IDEPC) staff continue to conduct investigations and monitor disease occurrence that peaked in several prominent outbreaks from 2017.

While MDH officials declared that the 2017 measles outbreak was “over” on August 25, 2017, staff are currently working to ensure that an outbreak does not happen again. State and local public health staff continue to conduct outreach to affected populations to better understand the circumstances surrounding the outbreak. Some communities continue to have concerns about the connection between autism and vaccines. Because immunization rates are still low in these populations, promoting vaccination as the most effective tool we have to stop measles is a message that needs to continue to be conveyed.

Another outbreak that staff are currently dealing with is multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that has been affecting members of an elder community in Ramsey County. MDH and Ramsey County are collaborating on an incident command response to this outbreak. MDR-TB is difficult to treat because it is resistant to at least two of the drugs designed to treat it. As a result, treatment is longer and more expensive, with harsher side effects for the patients.

An outbreak that is on the rise across the state, with clusters in several greater Minnesota counties, is syphilis. MDH is engaging in several outreach activities to address this uptick in disease. MDH IDEPC staff have held testing events to encourage people to get free testing for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, staff have provided educational materials for distribution to at risk populations, and training to health care providers to increase awareness.

These were important responses, and—in some cases—high profile media stories last year, but their stories are not over yet. The work of public health to stop these diseases, while being on the lookout for emerging outbreaks, will continue into 2018.

Administrative Update from CDC and ASPR

We received notice that, for administrative purposes, the PHEP and HPP grants, which have been one award with two appropriations, will be separate effective July 2019. ASPR and CDC will be extending the current budget period to allow for the transition, with details to follow on how this will be implemented for fiscal year 2019.

This transition DOES NOT change HPP-PHEP programmatic alignment or current funding levels. Both ASPR and CDC have stated they continue to believe that the program alignment between HPP and PHEP is absolutely necessary to realize progress toward U.S. public health and medical preparedness and response capabilities.

Again, this is an administrative change at the federal level, not a change in program funding or deliverables. Please feel free to contact our Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Cheryl Petersen-Kroeber, with any questions. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Meet the Staff

Staffing Updates

Some of our staff have stepped into new roles! Barbara Lundgren has transitioned into the position of Metro Public Health Preparedness Coordinator. Many of you know Barbara in her current role as the MNResponds Coordinator and a member of the MDH exercise team. Barbara will be transitioning out of the exercise planner role, and will keep her MNResponds Coordinator role as she moves into her new PHPC position.

Angie Koch has transitioned into the Health Care Preparedness Coalition Coordinator role within Health Care Preparedness (HPP) where she oversees implementation and analysis of HPP grant deliverables, while also focusing on the development of a maturation and sustainment vision for health care coalitions to adopt in achieving their highest functioning capacity.

Erin McLachlan began a new position as the Business Continuity Coordinator. In this role, Erin oversees the design, development and maintenance of plans and procedures to ensure that MDH can respond to a wide variety of incidents or events, provides technical assistance to local and tribal public health, and participates in continuity of business planning with other state agencies.

Alex Bambrick has returned to role of HPP Ebola and High Consequence Infectious Disease Planner. Alex’s prior experience with the initiatives of that position will ensure a smooth transition and build on the good work accomplished by Pat McQuillan.

New Staff

Candice McCardle is the new CDC Preparedness Field Assignee (PFA) who will be with MDH for the next three years. She received her Bachelor’s in Public Policy from Hamilton College in Upstate New York, after which she was accepted into the CDC’s Public Health Associate Program. In this assignment, Candice spent two years working for the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she specialized in marketing and strategic communications. As a lifelong resident of the East Coast, Candice is looking forward to exploring Minnesota and the Midwest!

Useful Resources

Caring for Children in a Disaster

The CDC's Children’s Preparedness Unit (CPU) is the agency's go-to source for children's needs in public health emergencies. It is important to understand how disasters affect children differently from adults, and how to help them cope after an emergency.  With this in mind, check out the information, tools, and resources that are available on CPU's Caring for Children in a Disaster website.

Important Dates

February 8, 2018

Continuity of Operations for Public Health Webinar
MN.TRAIN Course ID 1071768
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (CST)
For public health staff interested in or assigned to responsibilities for continuity of operations planning for their agency. To register and learn more, visit MN.TRAIN at its new URL.

February 21, 2018

16th Annual Preparedness Practicum 2018
Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, MN
To register and learn more about the Preparedness Practicum, visit the Metro Health & Medical Preparedness Coalition's website.

March 14, 2018

Health, Climate Change, & Vectorborne Disease Training Webinar
Noon – 1:00 p.m. (CST)
This training webinar and module will provide an overview of the observed climate changes in Minnesota, the public health issues related to climate change and vectorborne disease, and public health strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change to reduce the health impacts. The module can be used as an educational tool for interested persons or as a “train the trainer” module for local public health departments. Register here!

April 3, 2018 & April 19, 2018

Disaster Behavioral Health: Facilitating a Psychologically Supportive Response to Disasters
MN.TRAIN Course ID 1069580
Training on April 3 will be held in Becker, MN; training on April 19 will be held in North Mankato, MN. To register and learn more about the Disaster Behavioral Health Training, visit MN.TRAIN at its new URL.

April 4, 2018 & April 20, 2018

Disaster Behavioral Health: Facilitating a Psychologically Supportive Response to Disasters -Train the Trainer
MN.TRAIN Course ID 1069583
This train-the-trainer course will be held on April 4 will be held in Becker, MN; the course will be offered again on April 20 in North Mankato, MN. To register and learn more about the Disaster Behavioral Health Train the Trainer course, visit MN.TRAIN at its new URL.

April 17-20, 2018

2018 Preparedness Summit
Atlanta, GA
This theme for this year's summit is "Strengthening National Health Security: Mastering Ordinary Responses, Building Resilience for Extraordinary Events". To register and learn more, visit the Preparedness Summit website.

Previous editions of this newsletter are available at Emergency Preparedness and Response News.