155449 Pandemic influenza planning: Preparing communities with limited resources

Monday, November 5, 2007

Jill J. Artzberger , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Sharon Alderete , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
To effectively plan for and respond to public health emergencies in rural communities, public health and other health professionals must engage the community at large in the planning process by integrating a broader group of local stakeholders to participate in infrastructure building and rural emergency response planning processes.

Over the course of six months, the USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness, in partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services, assisted thirty-four North Texas counties with limited or non-existent local public health services in Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning activities. This project contained three major components: Rural Preparedness Roundtables, Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning Technical Assistance, and Table Top Exercises.

Rural Preparedness Roundtables, a strategy to engage and empower community members, brought together the broader group of local stakeholders. This face-to-face discussion served as a catalyst to build stakeholder networks for rural communities, share best practices, and incorporate the broader community voice into pandemic influenza response planning processes.

The USA Center provided each County Judge with a Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning template and Resource Guide to assist in their counties' Pandemic Influenza Response planning process. Center Staff were available over the next month to assist counties with creating their Pandemic Influenza Response Plans.

Rural Preparedness Roundtable participants were invited back to participate in a Table Top Exercise (TTX) to test the elements of their counties' Pandemic Influenza Response Plans. The TTX enabled participants to identify gaps and vulnerabilities in each county's plan and make recommendations for plan revisions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key stakeholders necessary for collaboration in rural emergency planning to support emergency/pandemic influenza response. 2. Prioritize issues that advance rural emergency planning and policy development that support emergency/pandemic influenza response. 3. Discuss future implications for development of rural public health infrastructure that will support emergency/pandemic influenza response.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.