Throughout the year, a multitude of agencies release annual reports that attempt to grade states on their preparedness to respond to public health emergencies. Some years these reports use similar indicators to assign state scores, but indicators often vary from year to year. These reports look at areas both within and outside of a health department’s control with indicators ranging from timeliness of laboratory testing to the existence of certain laws in the state. Regardless of the report you reference, the reporting agencies typically have similar goals of building awareness around the importance of public health preparedness and the continued support for these activities.
Today, one of these reports was issued by Trust for America’s Health. This report demonstrates Arizona’s successes in some key areas. For example, our Arizona State Public Health Lab meets national targets for testing dangerous foodborne bacteria, which can help speed up outbreak detection and more quickly get contaminated products off the shelf. Our lab is also a leader in biosafety, staffing a biosafety official and providing training to labs around the state to make sure that dangerous germs are handled safely. Another example – four health departments in Arizona are accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board (way to go Pima, Maricopa, Yavapai, and Mohave!). And, while we were only implementing 3 of 4 recommended healthcare-associated infection prevention strategies at the time data were collected for the report, our Healthcare Associated Infections Program is now in the process of implementing 100% of the CDC recommended prevention strategies.
Even more meaningful than these report cards is our proven track record to successfully respond to real world public health emergencies. This year, we’ve demonstrated our effectiveness through response to the measles outbreak this summer, public health support for multiple wildfires including Cedar Creek, and our continued planning and response to Zika virus. To find out how you can increase your personal and family preparedness in parallel with our local and statewide preparedness planning, visit Just in Case Arizona.