207151 Radiological population monitoring: Views of public health professionals

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gwendolyn N. Hudson, PhD, MPH, CPH , Office of Children's Health Protection, US EPA/ASPH Fellow, Washington, DC
Following a radiation disaster, it is essential to rapidly screen the population to identify people who are contaminated, require medical attention, or require long-term follow-up. This process, known as “population monitoring,” is vital to reducing morbidity and mortality. Primary responsibility for population monitoring resides with state and local health departments. However, at this time, little is known about how public health professionals view this new role. Purpose. To identify the views of public health professionals regarding their new role in radiological population monitoring. Hypotheses. Due to the newness of population monitoring, public health professionals will have a range of as yet unidentified concerns and uncertainties. These concerns may vary depending on such factors as whether the state has nuclear facilities within its borders, and whether the agencies that deal with radiation issues are located inside or outside the health department. Study Aims. 1) Identify the views, concerns and uncertainties of public health professionals regarding population monitoring; 2) Obtain feedback on new population monitoring guidance and materials. Methods. This qualitative study will utilize 8 focus groups with state and local public health professionals in four states. In addition, 8 interviews with high-level administrators/managers in those states will be conducted. Data Analysis. Data will be analyzed using thematic analysis with the support of computer-based text analysis software. This pilot project is expected to contribute to the disaster literature and the practice of emergency management by yielding an improved understanding of the perceptions, concerns, and uncertainties of public health professionals regarding population monitoring.

Learning Objectives:
Define Radiological Population Monitoring List the roles and responsibilities of local and state public health professionals in radiological population monitoring Identify initial themes related to public health professionals' views, concerns, and uncertainties in regards to their new roles in the emergency response area of radiological population monitoring.

Keywords: Local Public Health Agencies, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Education: BS 2001, Xavier University of LA; MPH 2004 University of South Florida; PhD student University of Alabama Birmingham Degree focus- Environmental Management and Policy Principal investigator (under the guidance of my mentor Dr. Steven Becker) of the submitted research project
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.