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University of Iowa News Release

June 14, 2006

Provost Receives Pandemic Task Force Report

In January, Executive Vice President and Provost Michael J. Hogan appointed a task force to examine the university's preparedness in the event of an influenza pandemic. The task force has now completed the first part of its multi-part charge, with the submission of a written response plan that identifies the steps to be taken at different stages leading up to and following an influenza pandemic, as well as the stakeholders involved in those steps.

Hogan says he will urge the UI Interim President Gary Fethke to move forward on the task force's recommendations.

"This report represents an impressive cooperative effort, not least because it was accomplished in such short order," Hogan said. "I am very grateful to Professor Chris Atchison, who chaired the task force, and to all of the task force members for taking on this extremely important responsibility, and arriving at this excellent result."

The ultimate goal of the response plan is to minimize the illness and death that could result from pandemic influenza within the university community and the Iowa City area, and to maintain health care and other essential community services during a time when many offices could be short-staffed. Though it focuses on the university's responsibilities in the event of such an emergency, the plan also recognizes the need for coordination with a variety of other organizations and agencies in the case of a public health emergency.

The plan lays out key roles and responsibilities for tracking the development and spread of a pandemic flu strain, ensuring the availability of supplies and pharmaceuticals, preparing and staffing triage and quarantine sites, and ensuring continuity of operations across the university. The plan also addresses the many different avenues of communication that would be crucial in an emergency, including informing faculty, staff, students, parents and the general public about the status of a pandemic and how to respond if symptoms occur.

Links to a summary of the Pandemic Influenza Response Plan, and to the plan in its entirety, may be found online in PDF format at http://www.uiowa.edu/~provost/docs/index.html#pandemic.

With the first part of its work completed, the task force will continue its work on the additional elements of Hogan's charge including: overseeing a simulation exercise to validate the plan's comprehensiveness and effectiveness; informing the university community about the plan; and preparing themselves to act as consultants to internal and external constituencies regarding response to a pandemic influenza.

The members of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Force are:

  • Christopher G. Atchison, College of Public Health, Chair
  • Pat Cain, Office of the Provost
  • Peter Densen, Carver College of Medicine
  • Eric Dickson, Carver College of Medicine
  • Mary Gilchrist, UI Hygienic Lab
  • Gregory Gray, College of Public Health
  • Charles Green, Public Safety
  • Charles Helms, Carver College of Medicine
  • Ronald Herman, College of Pharmacy
  • Loreen Herwaldt, Carver College of Medicine
  • Mary Khowassah, Student Health Services
  • Steven Parrott, University Relations
  • Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Gregory Schmidt, Carver College of Medicine
  • Deborah Schoenfelder, College of Nursing
  • John Staley, UI Hospitals and Clinics
  • Pete Wallace, Mercy Hospital Iowa City
  • Ralph Wilmoth, Johnson County Health Department
  • Patricia Winokur, Veterans Affairs Medical Center

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077, lesly-huffman@uiowa.edu; Program: Christopher G. Atchison, College of Public Health, chris-atchison@uiowa.edu; Writer: Kris Yows