The Acadiana region has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its efforts to prepare and respond to public health emergencies.

Working with the Louisiana Department of Health and its Office of Public Health, leaders in Acadiana have demonstrated the ability to plan for, respond to and recover from hazards, disasters and health emergencies. To achieve this recognition, local public health agencies must demonstrate emergency readiness capability benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready.

Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for LDH’s Office of Public Health, explained that Project Public Health Ready is a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.

“This recognition confirms that local public health officials and other community leaders have thorough and coordinated emergency response plans in place. In addition, response staff at the local level have the training to protect people and their health during an emergency,” Billioux said.

Local communities and health departments undergo a rigorous evaluation that assesses their ability to meet the above national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

Examples of some requirements necessary for communities to achieve this readiness recognition include:

  • Emergency Response Staffing and Communications: Identify and train response staff and leadership, and have a public notification and alert system in place.
  • Epidemiology: Collection of health data for surveillance of communicable diseases/threats, and of chemical and radiological agents.
  • Dispensing of Medicines: Ensures a processes requesting, receiving and distributing medications to affected populations.

Dr. Tina Stefanski, regional medical director for Public Health Region 4, said, “We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for Acadiana’s high level of preparedness. We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in the Acadia area.”

“Public health preparedness planning, response and recovery begins at the local level. It takes the collaboration of local health officials and each community’s governmental leaders to create healthy, resilient communities that can respond to and recover from disasters.” said Doris Brown, director of OPH’s Bureau of Community Preparedness. “We commend local leaders throughout Acadiana for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”