CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Jan. 28, 2003
UI Hospitals And Clinics Smallpox Response Planning Continues
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics today announced plans to seek volunteers
among its staff with special skills to participate in a UI Hospitals and Clinics
Health Care Smallpox Response Team.
The team will be one of 14 based at Iowa hospitals participating in phase
1 of the Iowa Department of Public Health's Pre-Event Smallpox Immunization
Plan. The IDPH Plan is a blueprint for managing and reducing the adverse impact
of a bioterrorism incident involving smallpox in Iowa.
"As the state's comprehensive tertiary health care center, UI Hospitals
and Clinics is qualified by the expertise of its faculty and staff and its
unique resources to participate in this important public health effort. Part
of our mission is to care for all Iowans, regardless of their ability to pay,
and to protect the health of our citizens," said Charles Helms, M.D.,
chief of staff at the medical center.
Helms and a working group of physicians, nurses, and other specialists are
building the team. The planning group is seeking volunteers with the necessary
skills and talents who will care for patients with smallpox during the first
two weeks following a potential outbreak. To assure the safety of the team
in caring for smallpox patients, team members will be asked to receive smallpox
vaccine when they formally agree to volunteer. Their vaccination sites will
be carefully followed.
"These volunteers will be the first to care for Iowans with smallpox
intensively should the disease make its way here," Helms explained. "In
order to protect those workers, they need to be immunized. We are taking every
step to ensure that the immunization process is as safe as possible."
Working group members will be contacting those health care workers with the
necessary skills and talents throughout the next several weeks. Those health
care workers interested in volunteering will receive education material and
be able to ask questions about the issues associated with smallpox.
Participation in the smallpox response team will be voluntary. Potential
members of the team will receive educational information about the risks associated
with the smallpox vaccine. Staff members who do not wish to participate may
decline without penalty.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy
J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics
and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services
they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.