Health and Family Services Cabinet
Mississippi Public Health Officials to visit Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2005) Due to outstanding delivery of services during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Mississippi officials requested to meet with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) to share information and learn more about public health procedures in the Commonwealth.
Representatives from the Mississippi Department for Public Health (MDH) will be in Frankfort Monday, Nov. 14, to meet with the Registered Sanitarian Committee to see how Kentucky developed and administered its environmental public health program. They also will examine ways to implement a similar plan in Mississippi by reviewing the credentials Kentucky requires for its environmental public health workforce.
“When you send staff into a disaster zone, hearing that their work was not only appreciated, but also truly valued and admired by other state officials is heartwarming. We’re very pleased others are interested in implementing our programs,” said Guy Delius, assistant director with the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety and one of DPH’s team leaders in Mississippi.” We’ll be very proud if we can help our friends in Mississippi gain the foundation for registration of their environmental health workers. It will help all of us in the long run.”
Kentucky requires that anyone who carries out environmental public health work for the state or county health departments must be registered as a sanitarian or environmental health specialist. The state also requires a college degree with a minimum of 24 semester hours of physical, chemical or biological sciences in addition to passing a comprehensive 300-question exam administered by the Registered Sanitarian Examining Committee.
Kentucky Registered Sanitarians also must undergo a continuing education program each year to remain updated with current information on new science and technology.
DPH deployed over 60 public health officials to the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi to assist the MDH in disaster response and recovery via the DPH’s Preparedness Branch. While there, they were able to help MDH tackle the overwhelming task of protecting the health of area residents and ensuring facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, schools and hospitals opened and operated safely.
They also collected private well water samples for the thousands of Mississippians who use wells for their drinking water and helped make sure emergency shelters operated safely, the mosquito population was controlled and pharmaceuticals were delivered to places of need.
“This is the core of public health work. Until the critical bases of safe food, water and shelter are provided and ensured for the citizens, financial recovery won’t occur,” said DPH Commissioner William D. Hacker, M.D. “Hurricane Katrina tested our preparedness response capabilities and our teams demonstrated that they are properly trained to deliver services and manage disaster.”
Kentucky’s public health teams have returned from the Gulf and resumed normal duties at CHFS and local health departments around the state.
“This region of the United States was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the largest storm to hit this country in memory,” said Clyde Bolton, director of DPH’s Division of Public Health Protection and Safety, and one of the team leaders who deployed to Mississippi. “Unless you see it with your own eyes, smell it and feel the devastation, you cannot appreciate the magnitude of damage in this area. Recovery will take months and years.”