211895 H1N1: The role of professional organizations during public health emergencies

Monday, November 9, 2009

Katherine Cardoni Brewer, MSN, BSN, BA , American Nurses Association, Silver Spring, MD
During a public health emergency, a professional organization has a role in getting and disseminating information for its members and for the public at large. But how does a nationally focused organization filter that information to ensure that its audience – its members- get the information that they need?

During the Novel H1N1 outbreak, the American Nurses Association's (ANA) sought to get information that most pertained to nurses to its members and the nursing community quickly. To do so, it relied on its preexisting partnerships and connections to federal emergency response agencies and systems, and working with private sector stakeholder groups. These preexisting relationships, as well as the ANA's previous work in disaster and pandemic preparedness and response paid dividends in terms of having a way to access information, but also having documents and publications that were useful in preparing for a pandemic.

As the H1N1 situation continues to evolve, the ANA will explore how it can best get information to its nurses, and how the ANA can promote its involvement in preparedness and response – including policy work. The question becomes how can the ANA be most visible in response to an emergency without projecting the image that the ANA is in control of the response efforts? How can the ANA learn what its members are experiencing that are involved in on-the-ground response efforts, and how it can best attend to those needs?

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the appropriateness of the American Nurses Association’s response efforts. 2. Discuss the role of professional organizations in response efforts, specifically in relation to how active or passive they should be.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have played a big role in receiving, coordinating, and disseminating information about the Novel H1N1 outbreak for the American Nurses Association.
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.