Lab Matters Winter 2020 - Page 27

WORKFORCE Emerging Leaders Develop Guide to the Unpredictable by Mary Bonifas, quality assurance officer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Tyler Wolford, MS, manager, Emergency Preparedness and Response At public health laboratories, the only thing predictable is the unpredictable. An emerging infectious disease, government shutdown, natural disaster, shortage of consumables or other public health threat can emerge at any time, day or night,* and these threats are growing in complexity and scope. Disease outbreaks, for example, increasingly span multiple jurisdictions and/or countries, placing added pressure on laboratories to respond effectively. If only there were a reference that laboratory scientists could turn to when an unprecedented event occurs. Thanks to the hard work of Cohort 11 of APHL’s Emerging Leader Program (ELP), there will soon be such a reference. After considering a range of issues affecting public health laboratories, the 14-member group opted to create, as their special project, a guide consolidating the expertise of dozens of laboratory emergency response experts into a single volume. Designed as a complement to existing public health laboratory response plans, the guide will share insights, considerations and lessons learned by threat category. When an event arises, users will be able to scan the related section to find practical information unavailable elsewhere. Since public health laboratories operate within government agencies where information sharing may be limited and operations siloed, rapid access to such guidance will be invaluable. The guide is slated for publication within the year. For more information on its status and content, contact Tyler Wolford, manager, Emergency Preparedness and Response, at [email protected], 240.485.2775. n APHL provides public health, environmental, agricultural and food safety laboratory managers, supervisors and directors with an opportunity to advance their leadership capabilities through the Emerging Leader Program (ELP). ELP encourages personal and professional growth among a cohort of laboratory and other public health professionals. Upon completion of the program, participants gain an invaluable network and a broader skill set that directly benefits the individual, the host laboratory and, ultimately, the greater public health laboratory system. ELP Cohort 11 outside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment * Some public health laboratory scientists contend that a health threat is most likely to emerge late on a Friday afternoon; however, this observation has yet to be verified. PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org Winter 2020 LAB MATTERS 25