Training the nation’s responders for pandemic influenza: A Department of Homeland Security planning and preparedness initiative

Jeffrey R. Ryan, PhD, Allen W. Kirchner, MD, Jan G. Glarum, Jennifer Davey, Martha Lavender, MSN, DSN, Dana George, Mandy Abernathy, Amie Knight, Heather Horn, Mick Castillo, F. Marion Cain III


Communities all over the world are preparing for the next disaster. Lately, the World Health Organization has focused its attention on H5N1, a subtype of the influenza virus. H5N1, which most Americans recognize as “bird flu,” has caused massive losses in poultry production, as well as some human fatalities. Public officials have been warned that H5N1 may mutate into a strain that is not only highly pathogenic but also readily transmissible between humans. Should this occur, we might find ourselves on the verge of the next great pandemic. Because of this, community leaders, public health officials, and responders at planning and management levels face one of their most challenging problems: planning and preparing for pandemic influenza. Recently, an initiative at the Center for Domestic Preparedness was undertaken to assemble a training program for community leaders and senior responders that will address the current threat of a pandemic, outline an appropriate response to the problem, and exercise small planning teams using a tabletop model.


pandemic, influenza, planning, preparedness, community response, medical surge, mass prophylaxis, genetic shift, genetic drift

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