Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Phil Alexakos, Chief of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness

For today’s interview I return to the Manchester Health Department to talk with Phil Alexakos, the Chief of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness Division, about how he and his department plan and prepare for public health crises. As we remembered the 14th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 just a few days ago, Phil’s division’s focus has expanded from naturally occurring public health threats like pandemic flu to responding to bioterrorism. The interview is fascinating because Phil and his colleagues focus on developing capabilities to respond to a wide array of unknown and unknowable events by finding ways to repurpose existing infrastructure in diverse ways. The podcast concludes with how government organizations like the Health Department cannot do this mission alone – they need the help of an army of volunteers. While Phil talks about some of the volunteer programs specific to New Hampshire, listeners should consider what opportunities they have to help make their communities more robust.

Links to the Podcast:
Anchor: https://anchor.fm/healthleaderforge/episodes/Phil-Alexakos--Chief-Of-Environmental-Health-And-Emergency-Preparedness-egra92
Stitcher: https://listen.stitcher.com/yvap/?af_dp=stitcher://episode/40479354&af_web_dp=https://www.stitcher.com/episode/40479354
iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/phil-alexakos-chief-of-environmental-health/id981989377?i=1000352240222

Podcast timeline:

background and early career
organization of emergency public health in NH
shifting planning, post-9/11
Manchester's anthrax history
anthrax at UNH
data surveillance for public health emergency detection
mass treatment - Points of Dispensing (PODs)
formal partners for emergency planning
planning for shelter operations
the planning group and role of the health care system
incident command, the EOC and the MACE
planning for MED Surge - accordion planning
integrating community based groups
Medical Reserve

Links discussed and for further reading:

Manchester Health Department http://www.manchesternh.gov/Departments/Health

NH Responds: New Hampshire Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals https://www.nhresponds.org/

Medical Reserve Corps https://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/HomePage

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams

FEMA Incident Command Training https://training.fema.gov/nims/

CDC - Public Health Preparedness Capabilities:National Standards for State and Local Planning http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/capabilities/index.htm

Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/pahpa/Pages/default.aspx

National Health Security Strategy http://www.phe.gov/preparedness/planning/authority/nhss/Pages/default.aspx

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