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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 20, 2004

'Project Public Health Ready' Is Topic Of Sept. 30 Presentation

To prepare for bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies, the Cerro Gordo County Public Health Department in north central Iowa recently completed a pilot project in local public health preparedness. On Thursday, Sept. 30, individuals involved with the project will discuss the national Public Health Ready initiative and review components of the pilot program.

The presentation, to be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 22 of the Nursing Building on the University of Iowa campus, is free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast live over the Iowa Communications Network and via streaming video on the web.

Speakers include Ron Osterholm, director of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health; Michael Fraser, deputy executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO); and DeAnne Sesker, educational coordinator with the Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology and Emergency Response in the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health was one of 11 local public health agencies nationwide to complete the requirements of Project Public Health Ready, which was established to help define local public health preparedness and develop a standard set of goals by which preparedness could be measured. Project Public Health Ready is a collaborative activity of NACCHO, the Center for Health Policy at the Columbia University School of Nursing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health departments participating in the project achieved goals in three key areas: 1) preparedness planning, 2) individual worker competence, and 3) demonstration of readiness through drills and exercises. The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health entered into a partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the UI College of Public Health to receive assistance in training, plan review and exercise execution.

The Sept. 30 program is part of the fall 2004 Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP). Advanced registration is requested and may be completed online at Links to the live web broadcast, as well as archives of past presentations, are available on the center's site.

The presentation is sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP), based in the UI College of Public Health, and the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

For more information about the Grand Rounds series, contact Angela Harding, program assistant, Center for Public Health Preparedness, at 319-335-8451 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT(S): Media: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,