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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: Community Mitigation
Issue Summary: Team approach meant prevention was front and center.
Description of Issue(s):

Boston's integrated H1N1 response plan provided direction to key sector partners across the city (See Story from the Field on Boston's integrated plan). To ensure that sector leaders stayed fully engaged throughout the response, and to build additional partnerships, the BPHC organized a standing team of staff members from throughout the Commission to act as the Prevention Team for the response. This group was the support system for the ten response sectors that made up the integrated response plan, acting as liaisons for any requests for information.

Actions taken to address the issue(s): When requests for materials (fact sheets, posters, etc) or information sessions were received, members of the team coordinated to fulfill the request, ensuring that the information met the necessary requirements. Team members made presentations to groups in every neighborhood of Boston. In addition to sharing information, these sessions provided an important feedback loop for planners to hear of emerging community concerns. The team also took the lead in providing prevention information and training to other public-facing City agencies, ensuring that each agency had at least one public health liaison that was educated on the latest flu situation in the city of Boston. The Mayor's Health Line was an integral part of the Prevention Team, operating a phone information line five days a week where residents could get flu information no matter what language they spoke.

See attached document (will be posted to NACCHO's toolbox soon) to view a sample of the Prevention Team's algorithm for processing requests for information.

Outcomes that resulted from actions taken:

Throughout the Fall H1N1 response, the Prevention Team fulfilled thousands of requests for information from Boston residents. In addition, as of the end of December, they participated in 80 public events across the city and provided flu prevention information to more than 11,000 people attending various community meetings and health fairs.

From August 2009 to December 2009, the Mayor's Health Line answered approximately 1,400 flu-related calls from Boston residents.

A sample Influenza/H1N1 call triage flowchart can be viewed in NACCHO's H1N1 toolkit at:

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