News and Events 2008

ACADEMIC COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT (Spring 2009): SPH 539 - Topics in Public Health Preparedness

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A three credit graduate level course Topics in Public Health Preparedness will be offered Spring Semester 2009. The course will meet at the University at Albany School of Public Health every other Thursday starting January 22, 2009 and will incorporate web-based coursework and other assignments.  Dr. Robert Westphal (former Director of the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness and Coordinator for BT Preparedness & Response Planning at the New York State Department of Health) will lead the discussion-based course providing a rich overview on a variety of public health emergency preparedness topics, including:

  • Animals & Veterinary Preparedness
  • Biological, Chemical, Nuclear, Radiological Response
  •  Emergency Epidemiology/Surge Planning
  • Incident Command System (ICS)
  • Pandemic Flu Planning for Colleges & Universities Point of Dispensing (POD)
  • Risk Communication Special Needs Shelters (SpNS)
  • Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

 For more information about the course, please contact the Center for Public Health Preparedness at

Credits can be applied to the Certificate in Public Health Surveillance and Preparedness or MPH program requirement. For more information visit

Certificate Program in PH Surveillance & Preparedness open for enrollment at the UAlbany SPH

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Certificate Program in PH Surveillance and Preparedness requires the completion of 15 graduate course credits. Courses are offered online and in-class, and include:

EPI 501 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I* (online and in-class)
EPI 605 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (in-class) 
SPH 559 Emergency Preparedness: The Public Health Perspective (online) 
SPH 559 Topics in Public Health Preparedness (in-class) 
EHT 590 Introduction to Environmental Health* (online and in-class)

*Master of Public Health (MPH) core courses (6 credits) that may be applied towards an MPH.

 To obtain the certificate, each student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher and file an application for Certificate completion within four years of admission. Note: Students can take a maximum of two courses before applying and being admitted into the program. Course waivers can be obtained only through prior approval. There is a transfer credit limit of one course (3 credits). Students who are enrolled in a School degree program and would like to pursue the certificate degree can do so if they fulfill the above-mentioned requirements.

Working in a POD e-learning Course

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Center's Working in a POD e-learning course has been used as preparatory training for PODs held across at least five New York State county health departments, including Erie, Niagara, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schoharie.  Results from a follow-up evaluation for the Erie Hepatitis-A POD held in February 2008 indicated that 96% of 92 staff members who completed the course prior to the event found the course helpful in fulfilling their role at the POD. Various Medical Reserve Corp coordinators have also recommended this course as both a refresher and initial training tool for Rensselaer and Schoharie counties. Evaluation results from 2,377 learners completing POD course have been strong overall:  91% strongly agreed or agreed that the course increased their level of knowledge, 92% strongly agreed or agreed that knowledge gained from the training will help them in their job, and 97% rated the overall training as good or excellent.   

NYS DOH Community Engagement Meetings on Pandemic Influenza

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The NYSDOH collaborated with the Keystone Center and other key partners in public health preparedness, including local health departments (Cortland, Chautauqua, and Nassau counties and the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness) to host a daylong, four-site public engagement effort on April 12, 2008.

During the day, the themes of trust, stockpiling, becoming active in the community and self-reliance emerged. Through polling and discussion participants identified nine specific areas needs for at-risk populations during a pandemic.  In summary, these are:

  1. Quality Public Health Information: Information about all aspects of pandemic planning should come from health care providers, hot lines, and community and governmental leaders.
  2. Stockpiling: Participants are confident in their ability to have in their own home a stockpile of appropriate food, supplies, and medicine if they are given information about how to do this and what necessities are needed.  The pharmaceutical industry needs to be adapted to support/allow storage of emergency prescriptions. In addition, plans must be made to help those in the community for whom stockpiling might be difficult. 
  3. Medication: Participant’s willingness to take and give their children medication that would save them but has not been proven safe would hinge on whether the benefits outweigh the risks, especially concerning children. 
  4. Governmental Support: All levels of government must start building capacity and show how they treat all people equally and fairly in emergency public health (pandemic) planning and preparedness. 
  5. Community Support: Communities need to begin active planning by drawing on interested individuals and networks to provide necessary education, support, and resources especially in the areas of childcare, food, water, and supplies. 
  6. Health Care System: The health care system must address issues of aging workers and the policy for sick workers during a pandemic. 
  7. Economics: Economics as a motivating factor for compliance must be examined. 
  8. Personal Preparedness: Individuals must be motivated and informed to become prepared.
  9. Social Distancing: Individuals must be informed so that they can comply with social distancing measures. Individuals for whom this might be difficult need to be identified and preparations needed to be made so that these individuals have a back-up plan. 

 Both focus group participants and facilitators and note-takers commented that the day was am overwhelming success. They both thought that participants were interested and fully engaged. They appreciated the opportunity to share information and participate in state health decision planning. They made specific suggestions about the polling process and the structure of the day. Participants came away empowered, enthusiastic to help out in their community but wanting more in terms of resources and information. These important insights will be considered as the NYSDOH continues its pandemic planning and preparedness process.

13,350+ public health professionals register for web-based Preparedness & Community Response to Pandemics course.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Since its official public release in September 2005, over 13,356 public health professionals and their response partners have registered for the online Preparedness & Community Response to Pandemics course. The course has reached participants from all 50 states and international locations, including 750+ individuals from New York State. More than 5,000 individuals have completed the course and have received continuing education credit for successful completion of the course.

Along with our archived webcast, Avian Flu: State, National & Worldwide Response, originally aired on September 08, 2005, it is also currently being featured on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention avian influenza webpage under News & Highlights.

UAlbany CPHP Accomplishments as of March 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Though the Center’s primary target audience includes New York State and local health department workers and their statewide responder partners, the majority of programs routinely reach both a national and international audience, including:  ¨      

Monthly Satellite Broadcast/Webcast Series 
In 5th year of programming      Reaches average of 6,000 viewers across 50 statesand international sites each month (multiple Canadian sites view regularly and other sites occasionally, including U.S. military bases/territories in Guam and the Virgin Islands, India, Fiji, Uganda, Sweden and Australia)o        Numerous academic, state and federal distance learning systems further disseminate §         California Community Colleges Satellite Network (109 sites)§         Florida Distance Learning Satellite Network (87 sites)§        University of Alaska Television (57 sites)§         University of North Carolina at Charlotte Broadcast Communications (UNCC-TV accessible by 350,000 households in the Charlotte-area, including 25,000 students at UNC Charlotte, and many thousands more from multiple other colleges and K-12 schools)§         Department of Defense Medical Interagency Satellite Training Program§         Veterans Administration (covering three work shifts across four time zones)§         Adirondack Area Network o        Archived videostream files have received more than 75,000 hits to date o        More than 8,000 copies of programs in videotapes and DVD format have been distributed at no cost (and sold by the Public Health Foundation) to date o        Awarded bronze Telly Award for the January 2006 satellite broadcast entitled Katrina: Planning for Special Needs Populationso       Future (and select archived) programs will also be available in video pod cast format as of June 2008 ¨     

Web-based Coursework
Self-paced, available 24/7, highly interactive and developed in line with competencies for emergency preparedness and terrorism readinesso        More than 30,000 registered for nine web-based courses to date§         Family Disaster Plan§         Field Epidemiology§         HazMat Transportation Incidents: Using the Emergency Response Guidebook§         Mass Dispensing: A Primer for Community Leaders§         Nuclear Terrorism: Pathways & Prevention§         Preparedness & Community Response to Pandemics§         Terrorism, Preparedness & Public Health: An Introduction§         Working in a Point of Dispensing (POD)§         Zoonosis, Preparedness & Public Healtho        More than 13,000 completions to date (continuing education credits and certificates of completion issued)o        Community Response to Pandemics course of particular interest world-wide, with 12,615 registered and 4,539 completions to date§        Interest in translation by USAID and PAHO§         Countless other academic institutions, health care and government agencies request use of material to support other training programs and courses o        NACCHO, OSHA and WHOo        NY SEMO and the Community Health Care Association of NYSo        Cleveland State's Center for Emergency Preparednesso        USA Prepare, National Emergency Response & Rescue TrainingCenter, and the International Association of Fire Chiefso        Health clinic in Tehran, Irano       Produced in partnership with technological experts from PDP at the University at Albany Rockefeller College of Public Affairs o        Of the nine additional courses currently proposed and/or under development, three are collaborative projects with NYCEPCE  ¨     

Academic Coursework
Certificate Program in Public Health Surveillance and Preparedness (15 credits)o        Certificate for Public Health Fundamentals and Practiceo        Two to three online and classroom-based courses (3-credits) offered each year§        Emergency Preparedness: The Public Health Perspective online course§         Emergency Preparedness in Schools§         Broadcast Colloquium course (designed to reach working professionals – meets once monthly around satellite broadcast series)o        Sponsor multiple graduate student internship projects per year§         Veterinary preparedness§        Use of personal protective equipment by fire and EMS responders§         Hazardous spills assessments and surveillance§         Continuity of operations ¨      

Technical Assistanceand Resources
Between September 1, 2006 and January 15, 2008 the Center provided technical assistance for 16 drills and exercise-related activities across New York State§         For nine local health departments, NYS DOH, the Center for Disability Services and the University at Albany School of Public Health§         Assistance involved exercise design, implementation and evaluation services o        In partnership with NYS, the Center assisted in the development of four onsite chemical & radiological awareness trainingso        In partnership with the Northeast Public Health Leadership Institute, the Center assisted in the development of two onsite programs related to leadership and community preparedness in disasterso        Developed PINATA: web-based resource center which houses reports, presentations, articles and websites addressing various public health preparedness related topics §         Animals and Emergencies§         Drills and Exercises§         Incident Command System§         Pandemic Influenza§         Personal Preparedness§         School Preparedness and University Pandemic Planning

UAlbany SPH 3-credit graduate level online course, Spring 2009: Emergency Preparedness: The Public Health Perspective.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 01, 2008 - The UAlbany School of Public Health hopes to offer the 3-credit graduate level online course titled Emergency Preparedness: The Public Health Perspective in Spring 2009. Course information can be found here.