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Saathoff completes disaster preparedness training program

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A public health professional from Storm Lake, Charissa Saathoff, is among 24 Iowans to complete an eight-month training program designed to strengthen knowledge in public health science, emergency response systems, and community leadership. The program is offered by the Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness (UMCPHP), based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Individuals completing the 2005 "train-the-trainer" program learned about disaster response planning and coordination, animal and human health, informatics and risk communications, public health law, and other preparedness topics. The group held its final meeting Nov. 15-16 at Camp Dodge in Johnston where trainers took part in tabletop simulations of health emergencies. The participants received a certificate of completion and will continue to support training efforts in their own communities.

"Recent events have made one thing clear: we have to be prepared to deal with the unexpected. Whether the threat is a natural disaster or terrorism, we need frontline public health experts who can immediately work together to address that emergency," said UMCPHP Director Christopher Atchison, UI College of Public Health associate dean for public health practice and clinical professor of health management and policy.

"This training program is helping to establish that network of experts who can serve as our frontline defense from threats to our state's health. We applaud and thank the participants for the time and effort they put into this course, as well as their commitment to work in their communities to provide leadership for local response efforts."

The Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is part of a national system of Centers for Public Health Preparedness located throughout the United States. The center's mission is to ensure that the Upper Midwest's public health workforce has the skills to prepare for, promptly identify, and respond to current and emerging health threats.

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