Public Health Laboratory was awarded funds from the Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity cooperative improvement grant to improve laboratory biosafety in Arizona as part of the national response to the Ebola crisis. The funds were awarded to develop a three-year plan to improve the state lab’s biosafety readiness as well as assisting the State Public Health Lab’s partners with their own biosafety preparedness.
Year one is dedicated to laying the groundwork for the following two years. A significant portion of this entails giving State Public Health Lab staff the opportunity to sharpen the skills they will need to serve the rest of the state. Our Biosafety Outreach Officer will be training with the CDC in the latest techniques and procedures for conducting biosafety risk assessment, gap remediation and mitigation of potential hazards. These skills will then be used at the State Laboratory to improve our lab operations and to give our biosafety staff valuable additional experience in deploying new techniques. Tools will be developed for use in laboratory assessments and addressing identified gaps.
In year two the biosafety assessment tools and skills developed in year one will be made available to the clinical laboratory partners of the Lab. Our Lab staff will be available to answer questions and provide advice on how to best utilize the new tools. Our goal is to provide onsite assistance from the Biosafety Outreach Officer at the request of our clinical laboratory partners when they conduct their own biosafety assessments.
The third year of the plan will be focused on assisting the clinical laboratory partners of the Lab with addressing gaps they detected in their own biosafety risk assessments. The Biosafety Outreach Officer and biosafety staff will work with our partners to assist them in addressing gaps at their request.
This three-year plan is designed to be flexible. The intent of the State Lab is to provide assistance to our clinical partners by providing tools and services at our partner’s request.