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APHA members helping public get ready for flu, infectious diseases; Sections taking part in Get Ready effort.

APHA members are serving as the backbone of APHA's Get Ready campaign, which will help Americans prepare for pandemicflu and other emerging infectious diseases.

Now under development, the Get Ready campaign will bring together the strength and expertise of APHA members to educate the public and give Americans the information they need to get prepared.

Long-term plans for the Get Ready campaign, which is awaiting grant funding, call for grassroots activities, toolkits, community partnerships, preparedness surveys and a calculator that will help people determine what supplies they will need to get ready for pandemic flu and other emerging infectious diseases.

A lack of direct funding for the new campaign isn't slowing planning efforts, however. To jump-start efforts, APHA has already created a Web site on influenza, online at <www.>, with fact sheets and other information. And in August, the Association launched a new Get Ready for Flu blog. The blog, online at <http://get>, features information and commentary on pandemic flu. Readers can submit their comments or sign up to be alerted when there are new postings to the blog. The blog will include entries written by APHA-solicited guest authors.

APHA's Student Assembly played a key role in the development of the Get Ready for Flu blog. In the weeks before the blog's official public launch, student members previewed the blog, reviewing its content, posting comments and providing feedback.

The Student Assembly isn't the only APHA group playing a role in the development of the Get Ready campaign. In August, a number of APHA member groups offered their support for the campaign by volunteering for special projects.

Among those offering their expertise are the Public Health Nursing Section, which will be working on materials on the role of public health nurses in the event of a pandemic. The Food and Nutrition Section will be creating a checklist on dietary considerations to be considered when stockpiling, particularly if someone has health concerns.

The Gerontological Health Section will be serving as a guest author on a flu blog entry, discussing the needs of the elderly in the event of a pandemic of flu or other emerging infectious diseases. Additionally, the Maternal and Child Health Section will provide information for an online question and answer article on the impact of pandemic flu and emerging infectious diseases on children and preventive measures for kids. And the Statistics Section will help evaluate a survey on APHA member preparedness.

Several APHA Sections will also serve as guest speakers on the campaign's podcasts, which are under development. The podcasts will be available via the APHA Web site.

Given their strengths, APHA's Sections are ideally suited to contribute to the Get Ready campaign, according to Susan Radius, PhD, CHES, chair of APHA's Intersectional Council.

"Working with their Section leadership, members will be able to offer their scientific base, their creativity and their commitment to public health in advancing the effort," Radius told The Nation's Health. "With the Get Ready campaign, we have an opportunity to make a difference. And with Sections' support, we will."

During a joint session at APHA's 134th Annual Meeting in Boston in November, the Intersectional Council and Committee on Affiliates will discuss ways their members can contribute to the work of the campaign. Eventually, all of APHA's member groups, including its Sections, Special Primary Interest Groups, Caucuses and Affiliates, will be called on to play a role in the Get Ready campaign, particularly as outreach efforts expand to the public.

The new Get Ready campaign will differ from existing efforts on pandemic flu and emerging infectious diseases--and previous APHA efforts--in that it will speak directly to the public. While there is currently much information available on flu and diseases, most of it is presented at a level that is too technical for the average American. The Get Ready campaign will fill gaps by telling people exactly what they need to do to be prepared, such as how to stockpile, create a plan and ways to stay healthy.

The campaign, which has a goal of increasing the number of Americans who are prepared for pandemic flu or other emerging infectious diseases, has a secondary benefit: Even if a pandemic does not occur, the effort will strengthen Americans' preparedness for other threats to their health and lives, such as hurricanes or terrorism.

A fact sheet with questions and answers on the campaign will be available in September on the new campaign Web site, <www.>. For more on the campaign, e-mail <> or call (202) 777-2441.
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Title Annotation:american public health association
Author:Late, Michele
Publication:The Nation's Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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