Kentucky Public Health Assistance and Support Team
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) and university partners are collaborating to develop trained teams of student/faculty volunteers to assist with public health outbreaks, investigations, and other responses. Given that applicable public health response situations arise, students may gain valuable experience in taking part in such activities as phone surveys, field surveys, data entry, data analysis, attendance at response planning meetings and daily situational update meetings, and other possible response activities. This program is targeted at students and faculty in any public health discipline at the masters and doctoral levels at Kentucky universities.
Participants should be currently enrolled students or faculty members at a Kentucky university. Before taking the K-PHAST training, participants are required to take two introductory ICS courses and supply their completion certificates to the K-PHAST coordinator for verification.
KDPH has developed a single-day general concepts training that incorporates concepts of Incident Command Structure (ICS), survey design, Epi Info software, HIPPA issues, interviewing skills, and basic applied epidemiology. After the training, students will be enrolled in the program and able to participate in responses if a request is made by KDPH. Additional, just-in-time training will be given at any response so that the university participant can quickly become familiar with concepts specific to the given response and operational characteristics of KDPH’s response framework.
During responses in the past, KDPH has conducted large-scale phone surveys of patients, field surveys in disaster settings, established on-the-fly surveillance for novel diseases, injuries and other conditions, collected shelter surveillance data, performed data entry for surveillance during disasters, and analyzed incoming data throughout the response. Even data entry for a large batch of surveys may be needed in given investigations. All of these are examples of possible activities that KDPH could request assistance from K-PHAST members. Students may also have the opportunity to help local health departments with local response issues. We anticipate students could provide health departments much needed surge capacity for special projects (CASPER surveys, data entry, etc).
Participation would be limited to one or two days in most cases to avoid excessive conflicts with classes. Participation is voluntary, but KDPH will make every effort to cover any needs or expenses that arise from participation in a response (e.g., meals, transportation, lodging)
Participants should be currently enrolled students for faculty members at a Kentucky university. Before taking the K-PHAST training, participants are required to take two introductory ICS courses and supply their completion certificates for verification.
Issues Important to the Participating Student:
- Liability: Students and faculty need to be covered by student or university insurance policies for health and injury. KDPH has no mechanism to cover non-state employees for response activities in this type of setting.
- Missing Classes: Students should obtain approval in advance from their professors if they know they will miss a given class of have prior approval arranged. The university should facilitate this interaction whenever possible.
- Credit for participation: Although students will hopefully obtain a valuable experience if called to participate in a response, it is also beneficial if they can obtain academic credit of some sort. One solution is to allow the hours spent on a KDPH response to count against their student practicum hours. This is up to the university to decide.
IS-100.c Introduction to Incident Command System
Time: Approximately 3 hours
IS-700.b National Incident Management System (NIMS) an Introduction
Time: Approximately 3 hours
Training certificates will be required for each participant.
Additional Resources for Review
Focus on Field Epidemiology – University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness
Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, 3rd edition.
Field Epidemiology, 3rd edition. Edited by Michael B. Gregg