The Gulf County Health Department has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to respond to public health emergencies. NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster.
The Gulf County Health Department met the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PPHR is a criteria-based public health preparedness program that assesses local health department capacity to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. The Gulf County Health Department joins a cohort of nearly 300 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for their agencies’ preparedness efforts through PPHR.
“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Marsha Lindeman, Administrator of the Gulf County Health Department and Interim Administrator of the Franklin County Health Department.
“I believe that this honor is exceedingly well-deserved because it reflects tremendous effort, dedication, creativity, and cooperation on the part of our entire team of experts. We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Gulf County.”
Robert Pestronk, executive director of NACCHO, emphasized the importance of local health departments in addressing local emergencies.
“All disasters strike locally, and local health departments are a critical part of any community’s first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism,” Pestronk said. “NACCHO commends the Gulf County Health Department for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”
Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review. PPHR required the Gulf CHD to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning, workforce competency, and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event.
The Gulf County Health Department has taken part in several such exercises – a mock traffic accident involving a school bus; emergency planning for a pandemic flu outbreak – and PPHR recognition confirms that the Gulf County Health Department has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place, that agency staff members are trained, and that the agency exercises the plan and uses it during public health emergencies.
The mission of the Gulf County Health Department is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts. For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit http://www.naccho.org/PPHR.