After the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the CDC activated its emergency operations center (EOC) to Level 1, the highest level of activation, to combat the spread of this debilitating virus. In order to keep the response staffed and prevent responder burnout, CDC asks its employees to volunteer to work in temporary response assignments. FCDPH's three PHAP Associates, Holley Hooks, Tracey Semcer, and Hope Tranberg, were lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in positions in the EOC and in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Holley (Epidemiology and Surveillance) spent her 60 day deployment in Atlanta at CDC headquarters as support staff for the incident management leadership team. She directly assisted the Incident Managers, Dr. Lyle Petersen and Captain Denise Jamieson, by taking notes during meetings and managing their progress report. She also coordinated data reporting for the US Government Zika Dashboard and conducted round-the-clock management of emails for the Deputy Incident Managers.
Tracey Semcer (Preventative Health) was deployed to CDC's Dengue Branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for nearly two months. She was one of 14 CDC Public Health Associates who was assigned to the CDC Dengue Branch and Puerto Rico Department of Health Case Surveillance Team. Her specific duties included reviewing clinical case data, epidemiologic data and laboratory results to assign suspected Zika cases to appropriate projects and testing algorithms. She also ensured healthcare providers and suspected Zika cases received lab results in a timely manner by performing efficient data entry of clinical information. The PHAP team was able to increase the baseline data entry weekly average of 1,300 cases per week to over 2,000!
Hope Tranberg (POSSE) is currently deployed for 60 days to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Task Force at CDC's headquarters in Atlanta. Her main task is monitoring the task force's functional email box and ensuring that information is delivered to the correct people in a timely manner. This task is especially important because despite mosquito season coming to an end, there are still active local Zika transmission zones in the United States and epidemiolgical information is a key component to tracking and stopping the disease.
Holley, Tracey, and Hope have all had experiences of a lifetime and are especially thankful for FCDPH supervisors and leadership for their support in pursuing these opportunities. If you want to hear more about the PHAP Associates' experiences, they will be presenting a lunch-and-learn after the holidays. Stay tuned for more information!
Research shows that children with untreated cavities are more likely to miss school and perform poorly when compared to their peers with no cavities. Luckily, dental sealants are an easy solution to this problem. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted onto the grooved surface of the back teeth and have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of cavities in children.
Thanks to a grant from the State of North Carolina, the Cleveland Avenue Dental Center has been able to partner with local schools to provide sealants for children in need in Forsyth County. Together with the Preventive Dental Program hygienists, the Dental Center completed a pilot sealant project at Forest Park Elementary School in the spring of 2016. The project was successful and has since expanded to multiple schools for the 2016-2017 school year. In the last 4 months, the Dental Center has conducted exams on 421 children at Griffith, Konnoak, and Forest Park Elementary Schools. These children were given needed dental services, including cleanings, fluoride, and sealants.
On Tuesday, December 6, the Teen Initiative Project and Teen Talk met jointly for their annual holiday wreath making party. Rodd Smith, Coalitions and Community Engagement Director, provided instructions to the teens on how to make decorative holiday wreaths using shatter resistant ornament balls, garland, and a coat hanger. Carrie Worsley, Family and Community Health Education and Outreach Director, along with Robin Lester, Adolescent Health Services Coordinator, and the Transportation Aides (Derrick Allen, Deborah Hutton, and Tanishia Rowland) participated in the festivities as well and assisted the teens with their wreaths.
The Teen Initiative Project (males and females, ages 14 - 21) and Teen Talk (females only, ages 9 - 13) are long standing teen pregnancy prevention programs sponsored by the Department of Public Health. For more information, please contact Robin Lester at x3269 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org .