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CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
5203 Westlawn
(319) 335-9647
e-mail: debra-venzke@uiowa.edu

Release: Nov. 8, 2002

UI public health preparedness program graduates first training group

A cross-section of public health professionals from around Iowa have completed a training program designed to bolster knowledge in public health science, emergency response systems and community leadership. The program is offered by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP), based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Some 57 participants completed the eight-month "train-the-trainer" program. Topics covered in the program included public health science; human, animal and environmental health; the state emergency response system; community leadership in a crisis; and continuing training at the community level. The group held its last meeting Nov. 6 and 7 at Camp Dodge near Des Moines, where the trainers took part in tabletop simulations of health emergencies. The participants received a certificate of completion and will continue to support training efforts in their own communities.

"This program is an important way of strengthening public health information and emergency procedures at the local level," said ICPHP director Christopher Atchison, UI College of Public Health associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of health management and policy. "We appreciate the 'above and beyond' willingness of these individuals to prepare themselves to manage a range of public health threats and to lead local response efforts."

The center is currently accepting applications from individuals interested in enrolling in the second train-the-trainer course scheduled for spring 2003. Participants must commit to an eight-month program and agree to assist with future training at the community level. The program is intended for health-related professionals such as first responders, emergency management personnel, public health nurses, physicians, pharmacists, public health administrators, communicable disease investigators, laboratory personnel, veterinarians, environmental health specialists, hospital personnel and extension staff. More information is available online at www.public-health.uiowa.edu/icphp/TTT/trainer.htm or by e-mailing laurie-walkner@uiowa.edu.

The Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness was established in May 2001 by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Bioterrorism Preparedness Initiative through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health. One of 19 academic Centers for Public Health Preparedness located throughout the United States, the ICPHP places special emphasis on partnerships with agricultural and emergency management units. The center's mission is to ensure that Iowa's public health workforce has the skills to prepare for, promptly identify and respond to current and emerging health threats.