Public health trains faith leaders in pandemic flu preparedness
The experts of the School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Preparedness spend a great deal of time preparing people for the next time a flu pandemic strikes.
History demonstrates that an influenza pandemic strikes about three times each century, according to Jesse Bliss, MPH, director of the School of Public Health’s office of public health practice and workforce development, which also encompasses the School’s Center for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP). CPHP experts are planning an interfaith summit on pan flu preparedness. It is called Interfaith Preparedness Summit for Pandemic Influenza: Cultivating a Culture of Preparedness, and it will take place at CrossWalk Church, located in Redlands, on November 13.
The summit is open to leaders and administrators of faith-based organizations, schools, and community-based emergency and disaster relief agencies.
“The community turns to faith organizations for support and information when an emergency occurs,” says Walleska Bliss, MPH, project manager for faith and community-based preparedness initiatives of the CPHP. “If we work with churches and other organizations of faith, then they can serve as a portal to educate the community for preparedness.”
Faith organizations that want to help during times of emergency are better able to serve their communities through disseminating the preparedness message before such events occur. This, when combined with knowledge and understanding of their roles and responsibilities during an emergency, will greatly enhance the preparedness of their communities.
“If you want to be a responder, you need to be trained. At the end of this summit, the leaders of local faith organizations will understand how their organization can integrate with regional disaster response efforts,” says Ms. Bliss.
Faith leaders who show an interest will be directed to contact the CPHP to arrange for additional preparedness training. The CPHP will also connect faith-based organizations with other disaster preparedness and response resources, such as the American Red Cross, Community Emergency Response Teams, and National Incident Management System training.
In addition to communication and training information, the summit will provide basic knowledge about personal preparedness, non-pharmaceutical public health interventions, and mental health impact of a public health emergency.
For more information on the summit, or to sign up, contact Venice Brown at (909) 558-4595.
By Heather Reifsnyder