Online Program

Oregon's state public health response to Ebola, 2014-15

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Eric Gebbie, DrPH, MIA, MA, Public Health Division, Health Security, Preparedness and Response Program, Oregon Health Authority, Portland, OR
Julie Black, Ed.M., Health Security, Preparedness and Response, Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, Portland, OR
Background/Purpose: The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s incident management team (IMT) activated on October 13, 2014 to address the threat of Ebola. The IMT was put in place initially to enhance the organizational capacity for a possible response, clearly define chain of command and organizational structure, advance planning (regional and statewide), facilitate effective resource management, address public anxiety relating to Ebola by providing consistent evidence-based data and other credible sources of information and assist local partners as needed.

Methods:  The post-incident, after action review utilized data review, web surveys, qualitative program-level self-evaluation, and group discussion to identify activities carried out, observations about successes and problems, analyses of why those successes and problems occurred, and recommendations for continuation or alternation of those activities in future incidents.

Results/Outcomes: The evaluation data identified major strengths: (a) community outreach as well as building and maintaining partnerships; (b) the incident management team’s flexibility to adjust the response accordingly as the situation, staffing needs, partners’ needs and information rapidly changed.  The major areas for improvement included: (a) Internal processes and communication of those processes to appropriate and/or all members of the incident management team; (b) Document clearance and release protocol; and (c) internal electronic communications systems.

Conclusions: This incident was unique in the number of Public Health Preparedness Capabilities that were addressed, and the threat of such a devastating infectious disease spurred partnerships, planning and collaboration that would not have taken place in an exercise or planning non-emergency planning process.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Describe Oregon’s major state public health level actions taken in response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak and cases in the United States. Describe two major lessons learned from the after action review.

Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in public health leadership with a focus on emergency preparedness, and I have worked in the field of public health preparedness for 15 years. My duties have included research projects, training, evaluation of incidents and training, operations planning and leadership.
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.