Washington County HHS Earns Public Health Emergency Preparedness Recognition

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 05, 2012

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Division

As local health departments nationwide strive to protect the public from new and infectious diseases, bioterrorism, natural disasters and other public health threats, the National Association of County(Pictured l-r): Lynda Neal, Oregon Health Authority; Cynthia Valdivia, Washington County HHS; Kristy Beachamp and Mary Catherine Clites, North Central Public Health District; Lillian Shirley, NACCHO President and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has recognized Washington County Department of Health and Human Services for its ability to respond to public health emergencies. 

Washington County met the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was honored at the recent Public Health Preparedness Summit in Anaheim, California. Washington County is one of only two counties in Oregon to be recognized; North Central Public Health District is the other.

"We are proud to be just one of two health departments in Oregon to be recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness," said Kathleen O'Leary, Washington County's Public Health Division Manager. "We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Washington County."

Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a thorough evaluation process by peer review. PPHR required Washington County to meet expectations in public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning; workforce competency; and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event.

The recognition confirms that Washington County has an emergency response plan in place; the plan is connected to other jurisdictional emergency response plans; agency staff members are trained; and the plan is exercised and used during public health emergencies. 

"NACCHO commends Washington County for being a model of public health emergency preparedness," said Robert Pestronk, Executive Director of NACCHO. "The public health system is making great strides thanks to the good work of leaders in local public health preparedness."

The mission of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) 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 about Washington County's public health emergency preparedness program, call 503-846-4902 or visit www.co.washington.or.us.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Dept. Communications Coordinator