APHL 2019 POSTER ABSTRACTS Biosafety Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC)’s Biosafety Project Made Important Strides in Improving Biosafety Practices Across the US Frontlines: Biosafety Success Stories from the Field K. Bellis, L. Del Castillo, C. Chung, A. Pullman, A. Shultz and A. O’Connor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention M. Marsico, Association of Public Health Laboratories, SIlver Spring, MD In 2015, 64 state, local and territorial public health labs (PHLs) were awarded a three-year, $21 million US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Domestic Ebola Supplemental for Enhanced Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Capacity Cooperative Agreement. The agreement was designed to enhance PHL biosafety capacity, and improve coordination and outreach with clinical labs. With the cooperative agreement in place, a new cadre of biosafety officers (BSOs) were hired across these PHLs whose role was taking on biosafety and biosecurity performance gaps identified during the Ebola outbreak. These BSOs aim to improve lab biosafety and biosecurity practices within their respective jurisdictions (state, locality or territory) and guide assessment of biosafety and biosecurity practices at clinical labs in their regions. APHL supports these BSOs with resources, training, leadership development programs and a community of practice. The goal is a national cadre of professionally trained biosafety officers. Four years after the inception of the Cooperative Agreement, labs have made significant advances in strengthening biosafety and biosecurity practices. BSOs assist clinical lab staff to identify potential risks at their facility and follow up with guidance and training. For example, they have assisted with development of a risk management plan or provided hands on training in packaging and shipping of hazardous agents. Clinical labs have completed risk assessments, with positive results. Additionally, they have maintained a relationship with their PHL BSO, reaching out with questions whenever as issues arise. What would you like attendees to learn from this? Attendees will hear successes from PHLs across the country on how they utilized the funding to enhance and improve their internal biosafety practices along with clinical labs within their jurisdiction. Attendees will also gather information on how these BSOs plan to continue their efforts after the funding will no longer continue. Relevance: With the Ebola Supplemental coming to an end, this poster will share success stories PHLs have achieved during the past four years. Learning Objectives: List biosafety success stories from PHLs during the Cooperative Agreement; Describe PHL activities to strengthen biosafety internally and with their clinical labs; Highlight best practices to develop strong connections between PHLs and clinical labs. Presenter: Michael Marsico, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Silver Spring, MD, email@example.com 38 LAB MATTERS Summer 2019 Methods: Over a three-year period, we collected data every six months on eight quantitative indicators beginning in March 2015 and concluding in March 2018. We conducted a descriptive analysis of indicators following each data collection in order to assess progress towards attaining programmatic milestones and outcomes. At the end of the project period, we compared final results of indicator data with baseline values to evaluate the overall impact of the project. Results: Following our midline assessment, PHLs continued to meet targets for improving staff competency for working in Biosafety Level 3 laboratories as well as staff certifications in packaging and shipping. Greatest gains in progress were seen with PHLs meeting the target for having policies in place to perform risk assessments (RAs) (+39%). Clinical laboratory partners also made progress on all indicators, especially in increasing staff certifications for packaging and shipping (+15%) and having policies in place to perform RAs (+14%). As of the March 2018, 70% of jurisdictions reported that at least half of their clinical laboratory partners had performed a RA over the project period. Conclusions: The results of the final evaluation showed that progress continued consistently from the midline evaluation until the end of the project period, particularly for clinical laboratory partners. PHLs had the greatest gains in progress around developing and communicating risk assessment policies. Clinical laboratory partners were also able to improve biosafety practices over the three-year period. Data suggest that the ongoing communication and interaction between PHLs and clinical laboratory partners over the project period had a positive effect on clinical laboratories’ progress towards achieving biosafety outcomes. Overall, putting resources specifically towards improving laboratory biosafety practices in both the PHL and clinical laboratory settings appeared to have the intended outcomes towards preparing laboratories to strengthen biosafety practices for emerging infectious diseases. Presenter: Lisetta Del Castillo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, firstname.lastname@example.org Laboratory Acquired Infections: Showcasing the Need for Laboratory Biosafety M. Marsico, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Silver Spring, MD Description: Laboratories are responsible for protecting their lab workers from harmful infectious and hazardous agents, yet there have still been numerous staff exposures to these biological agents. This is due to in part a lack of biosafety practices being conducted in these laboratories. Laboratory acquired infections (LAIs) have demonstrated serious gaps in biosafety and biosecurity practices PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org Prior to the Ebola outbreak in PHLs, biosafety practices and procedures had been instituted but resources to support a program were limited. There were no outreach programs dedicated solely to strengthening biosafety and biosecurity practices toward clinical labs. Few of these clinical labs across the country conducted assessments to manage the risks posed by pathogens and staff often lacked training in biosafety and biosecurity practices. Objective: From March 2015 to March 2018, CDC awarded $24.1 million to 63 states and territorial health departments to support public health laboratories (PHLs) and their clinical partners in order to improve laboratory biosafety practices for dealing with Ebola virus disease and other emerging infectious diseases. We evaluated the project’s effectiveness at improving biosafety procedures and practices across US jurisdictions over three years.