Public Health Preparedness

Radio coverage areas in Wisconsin: important for public health preparedness
<<Alert: train derailment/toxic chemicals on board/major spill<< 
Although this alert wasn't real, emergency responders in Wisconsin gathered at the State Emergency Operations Center to simulate their response to the hypothetical event. Representatives from the Department of Health Services, hospital systems, National Guard, police, and firefighters participated in the exercise--along with the Population Health Fellows. Though our role was mostly observational, Fellows and staff asked the experts about the community's role in preparedness (what is being done to ready the community?) as well as the potential for policy changes to arise from tabletop exercises.

A scene from the State Emergency Operations Center
Fellows participating in the train derailment response simulation

After the preparedness exercise, we focused the afternoon around public health ethics. Dan Stier, the Program Director for the Network for Public Health Law, spoke to the group about some of the legal issues public health faces. Did you know the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments are particularly relevant to public health law?

The meeting ended with Professor Claire Wendland from UW-Madison hosting a skill-building session on the history of ethics and Institutional Review Boards. We discussed tricky scenarios like the balance between individual freedom and risk to a community in the context of infectious disease.