Michigan's District Health Department No. 2 (DHD2), serving Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw and Oscoda counties, addresses emergency preparedness by functioning as a liaison between local health care organizations and federal and state health authorities.
"Our department’s priority in a biological outbreak such as Ebola is to work with health care providers to quickly diagnose, isolate and determine contacts of any person who tests positive for the disease," Cori Upper, emergency preparedness coordinator for DHD2, said in a recent interview. "We work very closely with the health care community to ensure they are prepared to respond and have all the necessary information and training to prevent the spread of the disease."
Upper said in the event of any disease outbreak the department would implement its Risk Communication Plan, designed to deliver timely information to the community regarding disease symptoms, treatment recommendations and prevention. These updates are distributed through newspapers, social media, the Internet, TV and radio.
In addition to working with established organizations, the department seeks to involve the community in disease prevention by regularly providing information critical to that effort.
"Our department continually promotes disease prevention strategies in the community and encourages vaccination to prevent the spread of diseases," Upper said.
Community events that highlight healthy choices and strategies such as regular hand washing and vaccination are top priorities for the department.
Upper said the areas of emergency preparedness and response are viewed as crucial by the department because they play a key role in the function of public health.
"We take our jobs very seriously, and do our best to make sure we are proactive and prepared to respond to any threat to public health in jurisdiction," Upper said.
Upper holds a degree in health education and health promotion. He has more than 10 years of experience working in emergency preparedness.