Lab Matters Spring 2017 - Page 30

public health preparedness and response APHL Biosafety Peer Network Links Idaho to New York by Michael Stevenson, PhD, deputy lab director, Idaho Bureau of Laboratories In late January 2017, Health and Safety Specialist Cassie Dayan and I flew from Boise, Idaho to New York City to visit Anna Liddicoat—a new face in a new locale. APHL’s Biosafety Peer Network had paired two PHLs working in very different settings: Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL), the only public health laboratory in Idaho, staffed by approximately 40 people with a jurisdiction of 1.7 million people over 83,000 square miles, and New York City Public Health Laboratory (NYC PHL), one of four PHLs serving New York state, with a facility of 150 staff and a jurisdiction of 8.5 million people over 300 square miles. A t IBL, I oversee our lab safety program. Cassie was hired at IBL about 18 months ago with funds from the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Ebola Supplemental grant, and she works part-time to help with lab safety outreach to our 49 sentinel labs (36 with comprehensive microbiology units) in the state. Hired by NYC PHL a year ago under the same grant, Anna’s role as the Biosafety Officer (BSO) is to ensure biosafety practices are in place at their facility and to perform sentinel lab outreach for safety and biothreat awareness to NYC’s 78 sentinel labs (44 with comprehensive microbiology units). There were many highlights of our visit with Anna. We immediately noticed the security presence in their PHL building of several floors, with a 24/7 guard stationed at the main entrance and on the floor where the biosafety level 3 (BSL3) lab is located. Our in-depth tour of the facility and its testing programs, including Environmental Sciences, Microbiology and Virology, allowed us to observe safety practices and laboratory signage. We donned and doffed the required personal protection equipment when we visited the BSL3 lab where biothreat, TB and BioWatch testing occurred, and Anna explained how a risk assessment was performed for every testing procedure. Our conversation with the Quality Management (QM) Team was enlightening as we compared QM practices at facilities of 40 versus 150 staff. Finally, we shadowed Anna as she and a coworker visited Bellevue Hospital for a “meet and greet” sentinel lab outreach effort and a tour of its lab facilities. Michael and Cassie on the 86 th floor of the Empire State Building Cassie and I returned to Boise with NYC PHL resources to consider incorporating into our processes, and a plan to make a sentinel lab outreach binder similar to what Anna gave to Bellevue Hospital. In July, Anna will visit IBL, and we look forward to sharing our safety practices and resources with her. Our thanks go to APHL for letting us participate in this valuable network. The APHL Biosafety Peer Network partners state, local and territorial PHLs to facilitate mentoring and information sharing among biosafety officials. 28 LAB MATTERS Spring 2017 PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org