22849 Educating Communities about H1N1: Staying Afloat Amidst a Flood of Speaking Requests

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grand Hall
Milan Hill, MPH , Health Educator, Health Education Administration, County of Los Angeles

Background: The Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Speakers’ Bureau (SB) is a group that delivers standardized presentations to communities across Los Angeles County (LAC).  H1N1 response required mobilizing the SB to educate LAC stakeholders about H1N1 influenza and vaccination.  However, the surge in speaking requests necessitated a new approach to SB process and infrastructure.  As a result, SB was re-designed to meet emerging needs of community, physician, and executive audiences.      

Setting: Los Angeles County

Population: 10 million LAC residents

Project Description: The SB re-design entailed working collaboratively with internal partners to accomplish the following: Creation and ongoing review of H1N1 presentations and training curricula; Implementation of phone-based SB speaker trainings; Implementation of new promotional mechanisms; Revision of the online request form; Creation of speakers databases for deployment according to audience needs; Reassignment of request coordination to the Logistics Section of the Incident Command Structure; Prioritization of speaking requests; Development of GIS maps to illustrate concentration of requests by Supervisorial District and household income; Implementation of a phone-based presentation; and Development of a web-based instructor-led presentation available for download.

Results/Lessons Learned: Most requests came from districts with higher population density and lower household income; Audiences mostly included representatives from community based organizations, businesses, schools, and parent groups; The DPH homepage was the most effective means of advertising SB services; Strategies for further prioritizing speaking request fulfillment are needed; Mechanisms to improve SB speakers’ confidence in fulfilling requests are needed; Mechanisms to improve SB’s linguistic and multimedia capacity are needed; SB operations must function differently during emergency response (e.g. assigning distinct coordinators to coordinate requests and develop content); and Re-design of existing infrastructure can increase organizational capacity to address surges in community interest in SB services.

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