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A to Zika: What’s Next in Infectious Disease Outbreaks?

State lab expert shares ways hospitals can better prepare for outbreaks

August 04, 2017

Over the past few years, Wisconsin hospitals have responded to or prepared for a number of challenges involving infectious diseases, including H1N1, Ebola and now, Zika.

On September 20, WHA is sponsoring the “WHA Emergency Preparedness Conference: Ready to Respond.” This one-day conference will feature Peter Shult, PhD, associate director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, who will brief the audience on infectious disease outbreaks in the past, present and those that are anticipated in the future. Shult will also share best practices and describe ways hospitals can be better prepared for these events.

The role of state government during an emergency involves a series of steps that are not always well understood by outsiders. Stephanie Smiley, director of the bureau of communicable diseases at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, will explain the process the state follows to officially declare an emergency and what triggers the declaration that would impact hospitals.

Chris Sonne and William Castellano, both of HSS EM Solutions, will share best practices and lessons learned from live active shooter scenarios, as well as direct tabletop exercises and a practical, scenario-based training exercise, during a special afternoon session focused on preparing for an active shooter.

Hospitals are encouraged to take advantage of this in-state training opportunity designed for hospital emergency preparedness directors, emergency department directors and physicians, infection prevention staff, department directors, public relations professionals and public information officers.

The conference will also feature national experts who will share communication and preparedness lessons learned from real world events and focus on current threats facing health care organizations, including workplace and community violence and highly infectious diseases. Attendees will have the opportunity to collect strategies to enhance their current emergency management programs, practice them through interactive exercises, and integrate those preparedness and communication strategies into daily operations.

Vincent Covello, PhD, will keynote the conference and offer a deep-dive session in the afternoon specifically for public information officers and health care public relations professionals.

Covello is a nationally and internationally recognized trainer, researcher, consultant and expert in crisis, conflict, change and risk communications. Over the past 25 years, he has held numerous positions in academia and government. Covello was a senior scientist at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, D.C., a study director at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences and the director of the risk assessment program at the National Science Foundation. Covello has authored or edited more than 25 books and published over 75 articles on risk assessment, management and communication. Covello will share principles, strategies and practical tools for communicating effectively in a high stress situation.

Additional sessions include a look at infectious disease outbreaks and what hospitals can do to better prepare; as well as the role of governmental agencies, including the Department of Health Services and the Department of Public Health during an emergency.

This conference is September 20 at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison. The registration fee is $225 per person. The agenda and registration are available at www.cvent.com/d/b5qw08. Seating is limited—WHA highly recommends registering early.
 

This story originally appeared in the August 04, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter