Indiana Healthcare Agencies Partner to Create Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Video - April 2007

In cooperation with the Indiana State Department of Health, and Union Hospital’s Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health. Hamilton Center has created and underwritten a video to educate and prepare our Indiana communities for a possible pandemic influenza outbreak. A pandemic is a global disease outbreak that can happen at any time a new influenza virus emerges and there is no immunity and no vaccine available. It can lead to high levels of illness, social disruption and death.In April 2006 at the Clay County Health and Medical ESF 8 emergency planning session, Gerri Husband, former local emergency preparedness coordinator for Clay County, Brenda Church, Assistant Administrator for the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health, Mel Burks, Executive Director of Administrative Services at Hamilton Center, Inc., and other key health care leaders had a general discussion about the possibility of Pandemic Influenza and whether or not citizens of their respective counties were prepared for it. Burks shared with the group his plans to create a corporate DVD to prepare Hamilton Center staff for such an event. He asked why not do one to reach a larger audience? Based on this discussion, it was decided that the best way to reach the masses and to present the most clear, concise and consistent message would be through a well-prepared DVD for everyone to use as an educational tool. Money was the primary concern. Hamilton Center, Inc. and the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health were determined to get it done, so with the two as partners, they underwrote the entire cost of the production. They were unaware how long it would take to get done, but due to the seriousness of the topic, less than a professional finished product was unacceptable. The group all agreed that it would be important to teach people how to prepare for such a catastrophic event. After all, most of us in this mid-western region have been through exercises and received trainings on how to prepare for a tornado and other events likely to hit this area. But, what if an event like this were to happen, what would we do and how would we prepare? Accuracy and coordination with the Indiana Department of Health and a lot of patience were keys to getting this production completed. One of the experts in the video is Indiana State Health Commissioner, Dr. Judy Monroe, who says health professionals are concerned because there are several possible candidates for the influenza pandemic. The most likely is the H5N1, or avian bird flu, which has been identified in the Far East and other countries. It is a particularly serious type of flu, but, at this point, infection is rare. Virtually all of the cases reported have come through direct contact with poultry – such as chicken, ducks and turkeys infected with the virus. However, by their very nature, viruses are constantly changing and the fear is that this or another virus may, over time, adapt to infect and spread among humans. The DVD will be distributed to as many schools, county agencies, churches and other community organizations in order to educate on pandemic preparedness for your home, school and work environment. “The better prepared we are today, the less chance of a more chaotic situation if it should actually occur,” said Mel Burks of Hamilton Center, and one of the leaders in seeing the project to completion.

The initial distribution points for this video are the County Health Departments in the following counties: Clay, Greene, Hendricks, Marion, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo. Not-for-profit reproduction of this DVD is encouraged in an effort to reach all residents. If you would like more information on this DVD, please contact your county health department.

Return to 2007 News Stories