202768 Applying the incident command system to public health: Developing a self-guided training for local health departments on using incident command with outbreak investigations

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:20 AM

Carol Gunther-Mohr, MA , North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Martha J. Salyers, MD, MPH , Annex, Buncombe County Health Center, Asheville, NC
Meredith K. Davis, MPH , North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Laura Alexander, BA , North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Rachel A. Wilfert, MD, MPH, CPH , UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
All local health departments are now expected to use the incident command system (ICS) to manage public health emergencies, particularly those requiring a multi-agency response. However, standardized ICS trainings offered by federal agencies are designed primarily for emergency management, fire, and other first responders, and are often difficult for health departments to apply in practice. To address this training gap, the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness in the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health partnered with one of North Carolina's seven regional response teams, Public Health Regional Surveillance Team 6, to develop an ICS training program for local health departments. The self-guided 2-hour training program applies ICS to a common public health activity: investigating a disease outbreak. The training program, intended for staff in small to medium-sized rural health departments, was designed to supplement, rather than replace, existing standardized ICS trainings. It features didactic materials reviewing key ICS concepts, filmed interviews with local public health professionals describing the use of ICS in an actual public health emergency, and a participant workbook with activities. The program also includes a facilitator's guide for leading group-based learning and a web-based toolkit of resources for further study and application. We will discuss the curriculum development process, including the collaboration between the Preparedness Center and Public Health Regional Surveillance Team 6, the resources necessary to develop materials, and feedback mechanisms such as establishing a national review group and pilot testing.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the collaboration between an academic center and a public health regional response team to develop a self-guided training on the use of the incident command system for outbreak investigations. 2. List the key components in the development of a self-guided ICS training. 3. Discuss the challenges in developing a short, focused training on ICS for local public health staff.

Keywords: Professional Training, Distance Education Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Rachel A. Wilfert is a research associate for training and education with the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness. She is responsible for helping plan, implement and coordinate NCCPHP’s training and educational programs. Dr. Wilfert’s responsibilities include oversight of several projects with state partners including the Public Health Workforce Development System (an online learning management system for North Carolina public health workers) and a contract with the NC Division of Public Health to train public health employees on the NC Electronic Disease Surveillance System, a new online communicable disease reporting system that is being implemented in all local health departments in North Carolina. She supervises professional staff working on curriculum development, training implementation, and marketing as well as graduate research assistants working on continued development of NCCPHP’s Training Web Site. She also develops relevant trainings for both face-to-face and online delivery. Dr. Wilfert received her MD from the Duke University School of Medicine and completed an internship in Duke’s Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. She received an MPH from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC School of Public Health and is certified in public health. Prior to joining NCCPHP, she worked for the NC AHEC Program on a statewide digital library for health professionals where she developed the Disaster Preparedness and Response Special Collection.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.