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.
**Cities highlighted in white and gray received notifications.
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FROM THE BEGINNING Tarrant County invited the input
of community leaders and communicated directly with them.
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.
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.
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.
--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.
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