The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is recognizing the Allentown Health Bureau for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. The Bureau has demonstrated that it meets the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bureau joins a cohort of more than 450 local health departments across the nation that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.
“The Allentown Health Bureau is honored to have been recognized as Project Public Health Ready,” said Director Vicky Kistler. “The hard work and dedication to public health emergency response activities has resulted in increased ability to respond when needed. We work continuously to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in the city.”
Mayor Ed Pawlowski said, “I am extremely proud of the work of the Allentown Health Bureau on a daily basis. The Health Bureau portion of the city website literally lists programs running from A-to-Z. Whether it involves clinics at the bureau, food protection inspections in establishments across this city or in this case emergency preparedness, the public can be confident in the bureau’s ability to get the job done.”
PPHR recognition confirms that the Allentown Health Bureau has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.
PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions.
“I want to congratulate the Allentown Health Bureau on achieving PPHR recognition,” said Lehigh County Director of Emergency Management Services Scott Lindenmuth. “It speaks volumes about the Bureau’s ability to respond quickly and appropriately as the need arises. The relationship that we have developed and maintained allows public health to join forces with the first responder community in assuring that the sustained response is possible and that our citizens are protected.”
According to Allentown Health Board member Dr. Stephen Katz, MD, “In an emergency, the needs of the population may far exceed the ability of the small, local public health department. Through partnerships, planning and routine exercising, the Allentown Health Bureau has expanded capacity by building a medical reserve corps and solidifying partnerships to assist when the need arises. It is for this reason that the Allentown Health Bureau has been recognized.”
“When disaster strikes, it affects local communities, and local health departments are a critical part of any first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO Executive Director. “NACCHO commends the Allentown Health Bureau for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”
NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster. Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.
For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit http://www.naccho.org/PPHR.