Poll shows many unready for public health crisis

first_imgMay 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A recent survey sponsored by the American Public Health Association (APHA) indicates that about a third of Americans have made no preparations for a public health emergency and nearly 90% have prepared less than they think they should.The APHA survey, released in April at an expert roundtable discussion during National Public Health Week, was recently posted on the association’s Web site. The online survey was conducted in February by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, based in Washington, DC. It included 925 adults and sought the input of several specific groups, including mothers with children younger than 5, hourly wage workers, and adults who have chronic medical conditions.The survey group also polled 120 employers and 150 school superintendents and interviewed a small group of regional food bank administrators and local food panty and soup kitchen managers.Among the survey’s key findings:Thirty-two percent of the public have taken no special steps to prepare for a public health emergency that could leave them short of food, water, or medication.An 87% majority said they knew they had not done enough and could do more to prepare for a public health emergency.Forty percent of respondents said they had taken steps to prepare in the past, such as after the Sep 11 terrorist attacks, but had since let their plans lapse.More than a quarter (27%) said they were prepared for an emergency, but only about half (14%) had the 3-day supply of food, water, and medication currently recommended by the American Red Cross for general disaster planning.Close to half—46%—of respondents had not assembled a disaster supply kit.Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the APHA, said in a press release that the survey findings show public health officials have a long way to go to prepare the nation for public health emergencies.”No one can predict where the next natural disaster, major storm, or disease outbreak will strike, but when it does, it is likely to disrupt basic services, leaving people without electricity, water, food or needed medications,” he added.In the press release, the APHA said the survey shows that several vulnerable subgroups are lagging in their emergency preparedness efforts. For example, 58% of mothers with young children said they did not have a 3-day supply of water for their families, and only 61% of people with chronic health conditions had at least a 2-week supply of medication.The 17-page survey report says the term “public health crisis” does not resonate with people, though respondents reported being are concerned about specific events, such as natural disasters, that might lead to one. Only 26% thought that a public health crisis would affect their family in the next year or two, but 57% thought a severe storm might strike their area in the next few years, 47% thought an infectious disease outbreak such as the flu is likely, and 43% believed a foodborne disease outbreak is likely.In other findings, researchers reported that only 37% of employers believed that a public health crisis would affect their business during the next few years, and only 18% said they could continue paying their employees if business operations were interrupted. Though 63% of employees realized they might not be paid during a public health crisis, only 15% had saved enough money to provide for their families if such an event occurs.School administrators generally reported a high level of preparedness in the form of evacuation, communication, and community sheltering plans, but few said they had enough drinking water or food to last students for 3 days.Representatives of regional food distribution centers said they had devoted a lot of time and resources to preparedness planning, but those from local pantries or food shelves reported they were not prepared for public health emergencies, according to the APHA.All groups that were surveyed said cost was a major barrier to their preparedness actions.Greg Dworkin, MD, one of the editors of the FluWiki, an interactive pandemic planning Web site, told CIDRAP News he commends the APHA for commissioning the survey and said it’s important to gauge the public’s preparedness opinions from time to time, rather than making assumptions.The survey results suggest that preparedness messages are getting through to the public, but that people are not following through with action, said Dworkin, who is chief of pediatric pulmonology at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn. “That’s a real problem: the public hears the information, but the next question is how they process it,” he said.Some public health officials are overly concerned that the public will overreact or panic if they use specific terms when referring to public health threats, but not using specific terms represents a missed opportunity, Dworkin asserted. “The message has to be crystal clear. Say ‘pandemic’ if that’s what you mean,” he said.Also, it likely takes sustained, high-profile, and consistent messages to successfully persuade the public to prepare for public health emergencies, Dworkin said. “It’s a marathon, rather than a sprint,” he added.See also:APHA press releaselast_img read more

Aussie, Indian eves welcomed at Sydney Opera House before World Cup

first_imgSydney: The Australian and Indian women’s national cricket teams were officially welcomed to Sydney at the iconic Sydney Opera House ahead of the T20 Women’s World Cup 2020 opening match at the Sydney Showground Stadium on Friday. The formalities, hosted by Stuart Ayres MLC Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Bronnie Taylor MLC Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, showcased a taste of Sydney’s unique and diverse spirit and its local culture with a special indigenous performance by Redfern-based Tribal Warrior on arrival and acknowledgment to the country by indigenous Australian player, Ashleigh Gardener. T20 World Cup CEO Nick Hockley took to the stage before lawyer and Founder of Women In League, Mary Konstantopoulos, hosted a Q&A with Australian captain Meghann Lanning and Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Both captains were presented with commemorative cricket bats painted by Wollongong indigenous artist Zachary Bennett-Brook. IANSAlso Read: Hero Indian Open from March 19Also Watch: Closing Ceremony of National Level Campaign on “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” by Railway Childlinelast_img read more

USG election candidates announced

first_imgDespite coming from different backgrounds, Marketing Assistant Director Christine Nguyen and Miles Kay, who is new to USG, partnered up because of their mutual passion for service. Their platform includes establishing school-specific mental health initiatives, creating a campus culture that breaks the stigma of disabilities and enacting new sustainability programs such as reducing food waste and conserving water.  Sen. Sara Khoshniyati and Philanthropy Fund Assistant Director Rohit Bolla’s campaign revolves around ensuring that students’ voices are heard. Their platform includes initiatives to expand the free Lyft program and create a Student Health Center-sponsored monthly check-in program.  “The thing that connects the two of us is that we’re both so dedicated to service in whichever communities that we are a part of,” Nguyen said. “We are just two individuals who have very different perspectives, especially with [Kay]. He has never been in USG before, so he really brings with him value and perspective from being outside of the organization but still having that same passion, fire and dedication for service, which is so important and integral to the mission of USG as a whole.” Their platform emphasizes changing the culture of mental and academic health on campus, creating physical spaces for minority groups and increasing student accessibility to the administration through a student feedback platform.  Candidates running for USG will be campaigning until voting begins Feb. 11. Candidates for the Undergraduate Student Government 2020-21 academic year were announced online Tuesday. Four pairs of presidential candidates and 17 senatorial candidates, including six pairs running joint campaigns, were announced on USG’s election website.  They also plan to continue USG’s free legal counseling and want to expand the free blue books and HIV testing programs.  Each presidential ticket provided a joint statement and a description of its campaign platform on the USG election webpage.  Seventeen senatorial candidates are running for 12 open senator positions. Lennon Wesley III, Cathy Ding, Isabel Washington, Dario Arganese and Kevin Gutierrez are running solo campaigns.  “As president and vice president, we really want to push a platform that advocates for all students and creates equal opportunities,” Khoshniyati said. center_img “Our big thing is that we want to prioritize student services with our budgeting,” McMorran said. “[We’re] really making sure that we’re spending our money on things that directly improve the basic needs of students.”  Sen. Christopher McMorran and his running mate Trinity Lee will focus their presidential campaign on improving student access to public transportation.  “I think [the transportation program] is super important as a platform point for accessibility and affordability for students as well as sustainability and environmental stewardship,” McMorran said. “It also helps build relations with our surrounding community by getting students off campus more. I think it sort of checks all the boxes that we want to check with our campaign.”  Current USG Senior Director of Communications Truman Fritz and Sen. Rose Ritch are among those running for president and vice president.  Bolla said he and Khoshniyati hope to broaden extracurricular opportunities with their platform initiatives, which include grants for arts students to alleviate out-of-pocket expenses. “We want people to be empowered in their experience here at USC, both academic and nonacademic, so just leveling the playing field by giving people who might not have access to those kinds of supplies and resources could still give them the same leg up as everyone else,” Bolla said. Alexis Areias and Max Gomez; Gabriel Savage and Ruben Romeo; Joshua Wigler and Shreya Chanda; Julian Lin and Trinity Moore; Mayra Rodriguez and Nate Manor; and Jonathan Kamanta and Vadim Trubetskoy are running joint campaigns.  “We know that there’s a mental health crisis; we felt it ourselves,” Fritz said. “[We] know that there’s not enough support, there’s not enough resources on our campus today, there’s not enough money that’s going to fixing this problem that we all are feeling, and we want to work to change that.”last_img read more