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An e-Newsletter about Montana Public Health Improvement and ...

  1. 1. May 19, 2006 e-inPHoreadyMT An e-Newsletter about Montana Public Health Improvement and Preparedness Welcome to the May 2006 issue of e-inPHoreadyMT that features new information about next week’s 2006 Montana Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit, May 23-25th in Billings, the updated Montana DPHHS Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan, and new state website about pandemic influenza—all in Preparedness Progress. Plus, find a few new faces at DPHHS in Who’s Who? We hope this e-newsletter is useful to you, and welcome your suggestions so we can better serve you. Thank you. Contents Preparedness Progress • 2006 Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit o Pandemic influenza preparedness sessions o Naval Post Graduate School breakout o MT DPHHS Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan o Montana Pandemic influenza website o Joint information center at the summit o Pandemic influenza exhibit display • Hamilton schools exercise • School Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management grants • Blackfeet Tribe training System Improvement • 2006 Montana Public Health Summer Institute registration • Montanans to Northwest Center for Public Health Leadership Institute • Montana health officials quarterly meeting • Public Health Statute Modernization Project update Special Delivery on Deliverables • Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) resources • Pandemic influenza planning assessments Education and Information • Montana Bioterrorism Training Project • IS703 NIMS Resource Management online course • Key talking points of Montana’s pandemic planning • Schools’ pandemic influenza webpage • Special Populations and Public Health • Fit Nation web page • Environmental health training Save the Date • Montana Public Health Association 2006 Conference May 19, 2006 1
  2. 2. Who’s Who? • New DPHHS Laboratory Manager • New Antimicrobial Resistance Program Specialist • New Emergency Medical Services Injury Prevention Coordinator • Local to state • Women and Men’s Health Supervisor Preparedness Progress 2006 Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit It isn’t too late to register for next week’s 2006 Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit, May 23-25th at the Holiday Inn in Billings. Just click on the following link to register, or for information about the conference agenda, overview, lodging, breakout sessions, CEUs and more: Registration will also be available at the door. Pandemic influenza preparedness sessions In conjunction with the Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit, state health officials are preparing for the possibility of a global outbreak of influenza by hosting a statewide pandemic influenza summit on May 23rd, and by unveiling the latest update of the State of Montana Pandemic Influenza Plan, and a new web site aimed at helping Montanans learn about, prepare for, and respond to an influenza pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended earlier this year that all 50 states hold summits to prepare for the potential threat posed by the H5N1 avian influenza virus or other influenza viruses that might evolve to cause widespread illness in humans. The summits are part of a federal strategy to engage key stakeholders—including state and local officials, schools, businesses, health-care professionals, and faith-based organizations—in preparedness planning. The half-day pandemic influenza summit has been organized by the state Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). Dr. Kenneth P. Moritsugu, Deputy Surgeon General for HHS, will be a featured speaker at the summit. Lt. Governor John Bohlinger will review how Montana has worked to prepare for a pandemic and Governor Brian Schweitzer will deliver the keynote address. For information, contact DPHHS Communicable Disease Bureau Chief Kathleen McCarthy at 444-4735 or or Bob Moon at 444-9020 or Naval Post Graduate School breakout Public and tribal health professionals and partners may be interested in the Tuesday afternoon summit breakout by the Naval Post Graduate School on Tuesday afternoon, May 23rd, 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Governor’s Summit. Participants can expect an open and interactive facilitated dialogue among organizational leaders and elected officials. Simulated briefings and news stories set the context for discussion which is enhanced with input from a select group of subject matter experts. Leaders will walk away from this seminar with a better understanding of the challenges yet to be addressed to enhance homeland security efforts and identification of the most important next steps for the statewide homeland security team as a whole. Topics are discussed in an interactive roundtable format and include: • Local/State/Federal Responsibilities and Coordination • Prevention Methods and Infrastructures • Intelligence and Information Collection, Assessment, and Dissemination • Critical Infrastructure Protection • Interagency and Intergovernmental Policy and Strategies • Public Communications Every state and local area has its own unique set of homeland security issues and planning constraints and must ultimately determine how best to strengthen its own homeland security prevention and preparedness May 19, 2006 2
  3. 3. policies. Moreover, "best practices" models are just beginning to emerge. Government at all levels is only at the beginning of a long process of refining and building upon their existing successes in prevention and preparedness planning. MT DPHHS Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan update The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Service (DPHHS) is unveiling its recently undated Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan, an event-specific annex to the department’s all- hazards Human Disease/Public Health Emergency Plan. It is not a stand-alone plan. It was designed to be consistent with and subordinate to higher-level plans including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Response Plan, and the Montana Department of Military Affairs, Disaster and Emergency Services Division Montana Disaster and Emergency Plan. Higher-level plans describe response components that are not specific to pandemic influenza, but are broadly applicable such as the DPHHS incident command structure, and the agency’s emergency operations center activation protocol. Every effort has been made to assure that this plan is compatible with current Federal Emergency Management Agency policy, and with the emergency operation plans of other federal, state, and local government agencies. It is also in compliance with Executive Order #17-04 of the Governor of the State of Montana which formally recognized and adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a nationwide standardized approach to incident management and response, as the state’s official disaster and emergency management model. This document is a work that has been in progress since 1999 and is continually being updated. For more information, contact Montana State Epidemiologist Todd Damrow, Ph.D. at (406) 444-3986 or, or logon to MT pandemic influenza web site As part of the state’s preparedness efforts, DPHHS has also developed a pandemic influenza web site to help Montanans become aware and prepared. The web site describes risks of an influenza pandemic and provides easy access to state and federal resources people can use to prepare for and respond to a pandemic. The site, at, includes links to all state agencies that are involved in aspects of pandemic influenza planning. It also links to registration materials for the pandemic influenza summit and emergency preparedness conference. For more information, contact DPHHS Public Information Officer Gayle Shirley at or (406) 444-2596, 431-1039 (cell). Joint information center (JIC) at the summit MT Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Public information Officer (PIO) Monique Lay is activating a joint information center (JIC) at the Governor’s Summit. It will be located in the Aspen Room of the Holiday Inn. You’re invited to stop by and see the news media action. For more information, contact Monique at or (406) 841-3963, 439-9414 (cell). Summit exhibit about pandemic influenza You’re invited to visit the vendor area at the summit to explore the DPHHS one-stop-shop exhibit about pandemic influenza. View the recent PBS news magazine “Montana Focus” video segment about Montana’s pandemic influenza planning, and a presentation about the new DPHHS satellite trailer. Learn how to protect your family, your business, schools and communities. Pick up copies of the new state brochure about pandemic influenza, Montana’s family emergency preparedness guides, home preparedness refrigerator magnets, and the latest version of the Montana DPHHS Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan. What’s a Countermeasure Response Administration (CRA)? Find out at the Informatics Corner, complete with information about the Training and Communication Center (TCC), Public Health Information Network (PHIN), Health Alert Network (HAN), National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS). Go off to see the WIZRD too (Web Based Immunization Registry Database). For more information, contact Mary Ann Dunwell at or (406) 444-1281, 461-5358 (cell). May 19, 2006 3
  4. 4. Hamilton schools’ exercise MT DPHHS was invited to help evaluate the Hamilton School emergency preparedness and response exercise that took place on April 25th. Exercise organizers were particularly interested in state observations from a school and special populations perspective. Hamilton is one of three school districts that received grant funding for school preparedness planning. They are in their second year of working with the schools in Ravalli County. This exercise simulated a gas leak at Hamilton High School, including the evacuation of all students, with four sustaining injuries - two ambulatory & two non-responsive. Emergency Medical Services (EMS), dispatch, law enforcement and fire professionals were all involved to varying degrees in the exercise. The exercise also simulated a parent-student reunification process which involved twenty students and their parents. This was the aspect that particularly involved the Ravalli County public health department. “It was impressive to see the work that had evolved,” says Sandy Sands, Bureau Fiscal and Grants Coordinator for the DPHHS System Improvement and Preparedness Bureau. During the “hot wash,” the school principal remarked, “I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I think I'm finally coming to realize the importance and the significance of Incident Command System (ICS)." Many fine exercises are occurring throughout the state and DPHHS appreciates the opportunity to take part with our local partners. We encourage you to request our involvement, if you feel it’s appropriate. For more information, contact Jim Murphy at, (406) 444-4016 or Sandy at or (406) 444-3583. School Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management grants The Hamilton schools’ exercise demonstrated the benefits of the School Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management grants that are again available to local Montana school districts. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools is accepting grant applications from school districts over the next few weeks for the next funding cycle. The application due date is June 22, 2006. Applications may be submitted using the Department of Education's e-Grants Web site ( or they may be submitted in hard copy. The application can be accessed at the following Web site: The purpose of the Emergency Response and Crisis Management discretionary grant program is to provide funds for Local Education Agencies to improve and strengthen their emergency response plans. School districts are asked to work with community partners that include law enforcement, local government, public safety, public health, and mental health. Plans should also include training for school staff and students, a plan for communicating emergency response policies and procedures to parents, and must support implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Typical activities included in grantee programs include reviewing existing crisis plans, conducting vulnerability assessments, training, tabletop exercises, and crisis simulation drills. In the last two years, the Billings, Hays/Lodge Pole, Missoula, Terry and Hamilton School Districts received the grants. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Sandy Sands for further information at 406-444-3583 or Blackfeet Tribe to get disaster training The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to train 500 members of the Blackfeet Tribe to become temporary disaster workers for the agency, according to Gazette News Service. Training will take place at the Blackfeet Community College. Many Blackfeet tribal members have already worked for FEMA over the past two years, including about 500 for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief efforts. "Working with hurricane victims has been a great learning experience," said Nora Kennedy, the tribe's emergency response chairperson. "We have an opportunity to help others in need, as well as find employment for some of our people." May 19, 2006 4
  5. 5. Public Health Improvement 2006 Montana Public Health Summer Institute You can still qualify for early registration rates if you register by next Friday for the 2006 Montana Public Health Summer Institute. This year, we’re asking all participants to register online at Early registration rates extend through Friday, May 26th. Regular registration goes from May 27th through June 12th. Blocks of hotels rooms have been reserved with state rates under “Public Health Institute” at the Holiday Inn Express (406) 455-1000 and Comfort Inn (406) 454-2727 or 1-800-228-5150. Please contact the hotel directly to make your reservation. Public health professionals and community partners from across Montana and farther are expected to head to Great Falls, June 12-16, for the fifth annual Montana Public Health Summer Institute. This is the first year the summer institute will be held at the Montana State University (MSU) College of Technology, Great Falls. The summer institute offers short-term, intensive courses, in a variety of public health arenas, taught by Montana’s public health leaders and practitioners, and expert faculty from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. This year, participants have a wide menu of courses from which to choose. Courses include Applied Epidemiology for Public Health Workers, Intermediate Epidemiologic Concepts and Methods, Disease Interviewing Techniques for Public Health, Communicating the Public Health Message, Practical Fundamentals of Community Assessments in Montana, Preparing for Public Health Emergencies through Tabletop Exercises, Public Health Practice, and Syndemics: A Tool to Address “Wicked” Public Health Problems. The traditional summer institute reception will take place at the Charles Russell Museum on Tuesday night, June 13. This year’s institute will also feature technical assistance workshops on the virtual TCC (Training and Communication Center). The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and MSU College of Technology, Great Falls are sponsoring this year’s summer institute. For course information, contact Julie Benson-Rosston at 444-6820 or For registration information, contact Abbi Nyberg at 994-4601 or Montanans Participate in Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute Two Montana public health professionals are participating in the current year-long Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute (NWPHLI), a project of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP), University of Washington, that offers a year long learning experience designed to increase participants' public health and community leadership skills through on-site and distance education. Congratulations to Missoula City-County Health Officer Ellen Leahy and Yellowstone City-County Health Department Public Information Officer Barbara Schneeman. The new NWPHLI cohort kicked off with an on-site session in Seattle, May 3 – 5th and will involve two more on-site sessions in Portland and Seattle, in addition to independent study projects aimed at improving leadership competencies and skills. “The goal of the institute is to develop public health leaders within the Northwest by encouraging scholars to select a leadership project that will challenge and stretch capabilities and skill-sets,” says Schneeman. During the first session, scholars received the results of their public health leadership profile, which includes 15 key attributes of public health leadership. “The results of the profile will help us identify our strengths and weaknesses, and we will be able to incorporate leadership skill building goals into our projects,” says Schneeman. Thirty-one scholars from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are currently enrolled in the program to develop public health leadership skills to apply in their organizations and communities. Course instructors include Jack Thompson, Director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and Jeremy Sappington, professor at the University of Washington. For more information, click on the following URL: May 19, 2006 5
  6. 6. Montana health officials’ quarterly meeting Montana public health officials gathered at DPHHS in Helena, or via videoconferencing, to hold a May 15th quarterly meeting. Current issues discussed included development of a Montana State Association of City and County Health Officials (SACCHO), anti-viral distribution planning, the Norovirus outbreak, and upcoming Montana Public Health Summer Institute. At the most recent meeting, Richland County Health Administrator Judy LaPan, Lewis and Clark City-County Health Officer Melanie Reynolds, Gallatin County Health Officer Stephanie Nelson, and Yellowstone City-County Health Officer Lil Anderson presented a concept paper for a Montana State Association of City and County Health Officials (SACCHO), which aligns with the national NACCHO infrastructure. For more information, contact Judy Garrity at 444-4016 or Public Health Statute Modernization Project DPHHS is continuing to seek local public health and tribal input as the Montana Public Health Statute Modernization Project moves forward. The project includes proposing a draft for legislative action during 2007 session. “Our vision is to make it a very inclusive project,” says coordinator Judy Garrity. “People impacted will have a say, so by the time the legislature meets in January for the 2007 session, all parties will be informed.” she adds. The Montana Public Health Association (MPHA) and Montana Association of Counties (MACo) are also participating. For more information, contact Judy Garrity at 444-4016 or Special Delivery on Deliverables Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Guidance/Resources DPHHS has created an area on the Training and Communication Center (TCC) to provide guidance and resources related to preparedness grants. The Emergency Preparedness Center now includes general guidance, as well as more detailed information on specific topic areas, related to all aspects of our CDC grant. To access the CDC Preparedness Grant section, registered users can log on to the TCC at: and enter the Emergency Preparedness Center. To locate general grant guidance, such as the third quarter progress report template, select the CDC Preparedness Folder and then select the "content" link. More specific information on topics like HAN, Epi, or Risk Comm will be found in the folder titled Emergency Preparedness Team Rooms. Attached to this email issue of e-inPHoreadyMT, please see an instruction document called “PHEP TCC Instructions” for your information about how to use the CDC Preparedness Grant section. The instruction document provides more detail on how to access the resources available and is intended for county and tribal contractors. If you need any assistance or have suggestions after looking at the site please contact Jim Murphy at or (406) 444-4016, or Tulasi Zimmer at or (406) 444-7072. (Attach Jim’s PHEP TCC Instructions) Pandemic checklists More than 40 local and tribal jurisdictions returned completed assessments for pandemic preparedness planning. DPHHS appreciates the partnership in this planning. The information in the assessment checklists will inform next week’s Pandemic Influenza Planning breakout session at the Montana Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit. For more information, contact Jim Murphy at or (406) 444-4016. Education and Information Montana Bioterrorism Training Project May 19, 2006 6
  7. 7. Under grant opportunities from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), St. Vincent’s Healthcare in concert with the University of Montana, , and MT DPHHS to implement the Montana Bioterrorism Training Project. One of the projects includes the course A Practical Approach to Infectious Disease Outbreak Management, tentatively scheduled to be presented by University of Montana Bioterrorism Project Coordinator Earl Hall and consultant Bettina Stopford. According to Hall, this will be a two-day course that will be NIMS IS-200 certifiable and include two to three mini-tabletop exercises specific to infectious diseases including pandemic influenza. The DPHHS virtual Training and Communication Center (TCC) will provide online course notice and registration. The course may be offered as regional trainings in Kalispell, Missoula, Hamilton, Bozeman, Butte, Billings, Miles City, Glasgow, Havre, Helena, Great Falls, and Lewistown. For more information, contact Earl at (406) 243-4698 or IS703 NIMS Resource Management online course This interactive computer-based course provides the principles, tools, processes, and systems used in the The course shows that resources, including personnel, teams, facilities, equipment and supplies, are managed through this NIMS system by advance planning, resource identification and ordering, categorizing resources, use of agreements, acquisition management, management information systems, and protocols for ordering, mobilization and dispatching. To take the course online go to The course length is approximately 3 to 4 hours. Government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organization individuals and teams who are charged with working together in a network to manage resources during domestic incidents should benefit from taking the online course. The goal is enable incident managers, logistics managers, and other state, local or tribal officials to plan for, manage and implement resource management systems for times of crisis and disaster. For more information, contact the EMI course manager, Tom Gilboy at (301) 447-1535 or Schools and pandemic influenza webpage The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Pandemic Influenza Preparedness page on their website. To visit the site, please click on the following URL: Key talking points of Montana’s pandemic planning Your designated spokesperson/s (subject matter expert) and/or public information officer (PIO) for pandemic influenza issues might want to be prepared to convey the following three key messages to guide the news interviews: •Your local jurisdiction and the State of Montana have pandemic influenza response plans that are regularly being evaluated and updated •Montana public health (local public health, tribal and state) is partnering with the federal government to conduct a Pandemic Influenza Summit, May 23rd in Billings, as part of the three-day Governor's Emergency Preparedness Conference •The State of Montana has recently launched a pandemic influenza website at that is regularly being updated as a resource to Montanans Special Populations and Public Health The new Spring/Summer 2006 issue of Northwest Public Health explores the theme of special populations and public health and looks at public health initiatives directed toward various populations. The journal features “Community Connector Networks,” the creation of a network of health department staff that connects to diverse communities, and “Lessons Learned: Communicating Health Information to Special Populations.” Northwest Public Health is a publication of the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Copies will be available free of charge at the Montana DPHHS pandemic influenza exhibit at the 2006 Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Conference in Billings, May 23-25th. The May 19, 2006 7
  8. 8. publication will also be available on the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice web site at: Fit Nation web page Cable News Network has a nice set of pages under the "Fit Nation" section of their website which displays obesity maps for 1985-2004 using Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data as the source. To access the pages, logon to: Environmental health training The ATSDR Environmental Public Health (EPH) Training program announces its annual 5-day training course. It is open to all ATSDR and CDC staff and partners. The Basic Course for Health Assessment and Consultation (Jun 5-9, 2006) is being held at ATSDR, 1825 Century Blvd., Room 1A/1B, Atlanta, GA. Link to see course details, agenda, and learning objectives = Link to register (takes about 1 minute) = For more information, contact Bob Kay, course manager (, 404-498-0382). Save the Date Montana Public Health Association 2006 conference Sept. 12-14th, 2006 Billings Hotel and Convention Center Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Trainings Managing the Unexpected #3: A Third Workshop on ‘High Reliability Organizing’ Focusing on Prescribed Fire/Fire Use and Suppression Operations May 22-26, 2006 in Missoula POC- Paul Chamberlin (406) 329-4965 or Lewis and Clark County CERT Class- Helena May 24, 31, June 7, 14, 21, 2006 1300-1700 each day 1-189th HHC, Army National Guard, 3330 Skyway Drive in Helena, one mile past the Helena Regional Airport Terminal on the left. POC- Karen Semple (406) 465-0163 or NIMS Intermediate/I-300- Department of Ag- Helena June 6-8, 2006- 0800-1700 on Days 1 & 2, 0800-1200 on Day 3 Regional Training Center at Fort Harrison POC- Charlie Hanson (406) 245-9672 or EMS Ops and Planning for WMD- Billings and Missoula June 6-8, 2006 0800-1700 each day Holiday Inn Grand in Billings, Location TBA in Missoula Each course limited to 30 participants Two online courses are pre-requisite for this training POC- Fred Naeher (406) 841-3968 OR Ellen Stinar (406) 444-6098 or for Billings class Basic Exercise Design Course- Ravalli County May 19, 2006 8
  9. 9. June 13-14, 2006 Location TBA in Hamilton POC- Ron Nicolas (406) 375-6655 or Basic Exercise Design Course- Butte Silver Bow June 20-21, 2006 Red Lion Inn, Butte POC- Wilma Puich (406) 497-6295 or Senior Officials Workshop for WMD- Billings September 20, 2006 Times TBA Location TBA POC- Jim Kraft (406) 256-2775 or Who’s Who? New DPHHS Laboratory Manager Congratulations to Denise Higgins who this week became the new DPHHS Laboratory Manager in the Immunology/Clinical Chemistry/Preparedness Section. Denise has most recently been working as Laboratory Preparedness Coordinator in the Laboratory Services Bureau. She also serves as Planning Section Chief in the DPHHS Emergency Operations Center. Denise brings with her several years of experience as a laboratory supervisor in physician office and hospital settings, along with experience as a program specialist in the Family and Community Health Bureau. Antimicrobial Resistance Program Specialist—New to Communicable Disease John LaRue has been selected as the Antimicrobial Resistance Program Specialist, effective 5/18/06. You can email him at Visit the website that he established for information New DPHHS Injury Prevention Coordinator Please join us in giving a warm welcome to DPHHS Injury Prevention Coordinator Bobbi Perkins. Bobbi works with the Emergency Management Services (EMS) section. She can be reached at 444-4126 or Local to state Lewis and Clark’s Joan Bowsher begins a news job as the WIC Section Supervisor, effective May 22nd. Joan comes to DPHHS from the Lewis and Clark City County Health Department, where she was most recently the administrator for the Prevention and Planning Division. Joan was the WIC Program Director at Lewis and Clark for six years, from 1989 to 1995, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics/ nutrition. Joan can be reached at 444-4747 or Women’s and Men’s Health supervisor Please join us in congratulating Colleen Lindsay, who has been hired as the new supervisor of the Women's and Men's Health Section in the Family and Community Health Bureau of the DPHHS Public Health and Safety Division. Colleen can be reached at (406) 444-3628 or See you in Billings next week for the 2006 Montana Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Summit, and in Great Falls in June for the Public Health Summer Institute. Next e-inPHoreadyMT – June 23, 2006 May 19, 2006 9
  10. 10. E-inPHoreadyMT is produced and distributed on the third Friday of each month by DPHHS to strengthen communication and relationships among public health professionals and partners in public health, emergency preparedness and system improvement. We welcome contributing articles and ideas. E-inPHoreadyMT is posted on the new virtual Training and Communication Center (TCC) at and on the emergency preparedness section of the DPHHS website at For more information, contact Mary Ann Dunwell, DPHHS Emergency Risk Communication Coordinator (406) 444-1281 or May 19, 2006 10