240840 Public Health Emergency Planning for Hard to Reach Populations Through Partnerships and Collaboration

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pamela Stephens, MPA , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Christine Billings, MPH , Eergency Preparedness and Response, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Angel Anderson, MPH, REHS , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Jody Erwin , Emergency Planning and Response Division, Jefferson County Public Health, Golden, CO
Following the 2009 H1N1 response, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) recognized a planning challenge related to providing information and resources to hard to reach populations such as community members with developmental disabilities, the homeless population, the elderly, and community members who are homebound. In addition, it was noted that response among these groups appeared to be affected by the relationship the recipient had with the agency providing the resources.

The methods developed by JCPH to increase access to information and resources for hard to reach community members involved collaborating with agencies already serving these populations and developing plans to provide information, as well as emergency medication if appropriate, during public health emergencies. The plan involved identifying community members that may be more difficult to reach, and contacting agencies already working with these groups, to develop agreements for collaboration.

The result has been the drafting of a formal agreement with the primary agency in Jefferson County serving adults with developmental disabilities to provide information and medication in the event of a public health emergency. In addition, informational meetings have been conducted with agencies serving the homeless, the undocumented, the elderly, and homebound populations.

The work on this planning challenge will continue as JCPH develops agreements with additional agencies serving hard to reach populations. The goal is to draw upon the relationships of trust these agencies have with the clients they are already serving, in order to increase public health emergency planning and response success with these community members.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain how the development of agency partnerships and mutual aid agreements can support emergency planning and response for hard to reach populations. Demonstrate the process for identifying hard to reach populations and those agencies serving these populations. Describe the benefits of distributing emergency preparedness and response information through agencies that have established relationships of trust with identified community members.

Keywords: Public/Private Partnerships, Community Capacity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Regional Emergency Planner with Jefferson County Public Health. Part of my planning focus includes at-risk and hard to reach populations. I have been working on this planning focus, as both a Graduate Student/Intern, and as an Emergency Planner, for the past three years.
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.