Lab Matters Summer 2019 - Page 28

PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE Biosafety and Beyond: Laboratory Training and Mentorship in the USAPI by Sean Page, associate specialist, Public Health Preparedness and Response In 2018, APHL received a one-year extension on its original three-year, $2.2 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity programs in public health laboratories—which ended in May 2019. Over this four-year period, APHL developed and delivered comprehensive tools and resources to state, local, territorial and US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) to provide opportunities to share ideas and resources and build biosafety and biosecurity skills of biosafety officers (BSOs). During the extension year, APHL conducted four, one-day Clinical Biosafety Forums where clinical laboratories were invited to provide feedback on their needs and the outreach efforts of public health laboratories. In January 2019, at the Hawaii Department of Health, State Laboratories Division, a technical skills building training was delivered in addition to the Forum at the request of invited participants. Shanette Nixon (center) celebrates Lab Week with Guam Department of Public Health, Public Health Laboratory staff During the training, public health and clinical laboratory representatives were expected to gain a better understanding of: • Conducting a biological assessment • Assessing and selecting appropriate laboratory personal protective equipment and biosafety levels based on risks • Describing their laboratory security and infrastructure • Discussing training challenges and needs of both public health and clinical laboratories in biosafety and biosecurity • Discussing solutions to enhance and improve biosecurity. Shanette Nixon and Moe Sullivan receive a warm island welcome at the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa 26 LAB MATTERS Summer 2019 Several USAPI participants thought that these training and mentorship efforts would be more impactful if they were provided at their individual institutions. So APHL evaluated its resources to determine the best way to address member needs. Conducting Site Assessments in USAPI It was important to complete any site assessments by the close of the cooperative agreement. So due to the tight turnaround time, the number of islands that expressed interest in APHL resources, the distance of each island and each island’s specific needs, APHL hired Shanette Nixon to conduct site visits. Nixon is a highly qualified contractor who holds a master’s in Healthcare Administration from University of Baltimore and a bachelor’s in Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology from University of South Florida. APHL scheduled consultations during April 2019 with Nixon, Maureen (Moe) Sullivan, Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory Division, and Sean Kaufman, CEO of Behavioral- Based Improvement Solutions. With the assistance of USAPI staff, Nixon conducted site visits in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org