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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Boston Public Health Commission
State: MA
Date Added: 01/26/2010
Themes: Other
Issue Summary: Boston leveraged its public health training expertise to prepare residents, volunteers and professionals to assist with the H1N1 response.
Description of Issue(s):

Years of preparedness experience taught Boston public health planners that training was an integral part of every emergency response. Whether training internal staff to assist with the Boston Public Health Commission's efforts, providing just-in-time training to volunteers at a vaccine clinic, training clinicians on vaccination protocols, or training community partners to help convey key prevention messages, training has played an important role in Boston's H1N1 response plan. In preparation for the mass vaccination campaign, paramedics from Boston EMS, Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers, school nurses and BPHC staff nurses were taught flu vaccination protocols and administration procedures.

Actions taken to address the issue(s): BPHC's DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness, conducted trainings for a variety of key audiences: Medical Reserve Corps volunteers were provided instructions on assisting at mass vaccination clinics, city agencies were engaged through a train-the-trainer program, community leaders were offered a certification program to become neighborhood flu educators (with resources also in Spanish) and trained educators were updated through a periodic "Flu Training Booster" newsletter. One example of BPHC's consistent efforts to target training for priority groups was the development of a pilot Youth Flu Educator Certificate Program. Developed in partnership with the BPHC's Child, Adolescent and Family Health, the program provided youth leaders from across the city information on influenza so that they could serve as prevention ambassadors in their schools and communities. In addition to all of this, the BPHC's Communicable Disease Control Bureau provided training for flu prevention to daycare providers from throughout the city.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: Hundreds of clinicians, first responders, volunteers and community members received training on influenza and how mitigate its spread in the community.

New and innovative training materials were developed for specific audiences in English and Spanish. One of many examples was a H1N1 Jeopardy board game for young people. Visit this link to see the board game and other materials:

The models developed as part of flu trainings can be utilized for other community health needs in the future.

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