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    NACCHO Best Practice Model Award -hero

    Tarrant County Public Health Director Veerinder (Vinny) Taneja (holding award plaque), along with TCPH staff members Yvette Wingate to his left, and to his right Dr. Anita Kurian and Keisha Leatherman. National Associate of County and City Health Officials Claude-Alix Jacob, current NACCHO President on the far left, and Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO Executive Director on far right, presented the award.

    On July 20, 2016, Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) was honored with the Model Practice Award at the 2016 Annual Conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), held in Phoenix, AZ.

    The Model Practice Award was presented for TCPH's "First Responder Infectious Disease Notification" practice that was established in 2014 as part of the department's response to a potential Ebola outbreak.

    The award celebrates local health departments for developing programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable best practices in response to a critical local public health need. TCPH was one of 19 local health department programs to receive NACCHO’s prestigious Model Practice Award.

     

    First Responder Infectious Disease Notification

     

    Tarrant County Partners and Municipalities**

    Tarrant County and Municipalities

    **Cities highlighted in white and gray received notifications.

    This data was prepared by Tarrant County Public Health for its use, and may be revised any time, without notification. Tarrant County Public Health does not guarantee the correctness or accuracy of any features on this map. Tarrant County assumes no responsibility in connection therewith. Said data should not be edited by anyone other than designated personnel, or through written approval by GIS Manager. This data is for informational purposes only and should not create liability on the part of Tarrant County Government, any officer and/or employees thereof.

    (printable map)

    FROM THE  BEGINNING Tarrant County invited the input

    of community leaders and communicated directly with them.

    Scope- 156 unique addresses monitored, Reach- 19 jurisdictions affected, Duration- 15 consecutive months invested

    Public Health Concern:  September 30 2014

     

    A Liberian man visiting Texas became ill and reported to a hospital in North Texas.  Soon after, he was diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) – the first diagnosis of this kind within the United States.

    An unprecedented and unexpected public health crisis followed.  Epidemiology contact investigations and monitoring began amid escalated public fear and tensions.  Throughout the region, people were afraid.  News coverage was constant.  Some schools were temporarily closed.  There were many questions about what to do and how to do it.

    TCPH Communications efforts to correct misinformation and reduce public hysteria, reaching out to news media, the public, schools, and employers with written communications, etc.

    Practice Born from Necessity

    Along with the monitoring of those potentially exposed to highly infectious EVD, the protection of first responders was important.  We needed to share locations of individuals under EVD monitoring with first responders in affected municipalities.

     

    Practice Goals:

    • Focus on prevention of exposure for first responders through notification before potential exposure to EVD
    • Maintain confidentiality and privacy rights for affected individuals
    • Identify and educate the point of contact/trusted agent in each municipality
    • Develop clear written communications with efficient delivery channels
    • Maintain compliance with federal and state disclosure law

     

    Goals Were Achieved Through:

    • Immediate, intensive planning and collaboration with County departments and experts
    • Regular communications with city officials and emergency management personnel
    • Focus on confidentiality and the security of data

    WE WERE DETERMINED to launch the practice without fanfare from the media or

    unnecessary attention from the public, but with the reliability to our city partners and a commitment

    to privacy for the human beings potentially exposed to Ebola.

    Notification Timeline

    Ebola Notification Timeline

    “During the Ebola event we were all scrambling to ensure the safety of our personnel while dealing with the confidentiality of those exposed.  On top of this, we wanted to reassure the public they were safe while providing guidelines to help them limit any potential exposures and minimize the  hysteria. Your notification process helped...”



    --Darrell Brown, Chief
    Grapevine Fire Department

     

    WE CREATED A PRACTICE that, to our knowledge, is new to the field of public health

    in the scope of preparations and communications related to EVD,

    and applicable to other high consequence diseases.

    Project Poster

    First Responder Infectious Disease Notification poster

    Accessibility notice:  If you are unable to see this graphic or print out a readable copy, please call 817-321-5313.

    printable 11 inches by 17 inches copy