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PROACT – Preparedness & Response On Advanced Communications Technology

PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT – In the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, the PROACT videoconference network will bring Public Health, medical and other experts from anywhere in the country to the site of a disaster through the use of an existing interactive videoconference technology. This initiative supplements all other disaster preparedness and response efforts and outlines the simple steps needed to launch the program.

BACKGROUND
Why is PROACT needed?
What can PROACT do?
PROACT map

BACKGROUND For many years, Public Health officials have been actively promoting the development of coordinated disaster preparedness and response initiatives. The catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, became the catalyst that brought the rest of the country to understand the importance of preparation for natural or man-made disasters. Even in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, and the resulting focus on disaster preparation and response, many healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities are under prepared for to respond to a WMD disaster. There are numerous stakeholders which must be actively engaged in the planning and implementation of a cohesive, statewide disaster preparedness and response plan, including:


WHY IS PROACT NEEDED?

Limited Resources: The availability of disaster planning and response experts is very limited, and in Kentucky, most of those experts are situated in Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville. Rural Kentucky has very little access to such expertise. The deployment of regional Bioterrorism Coordinators from the Kentucky Department of Public Health will help, but these specialists need easy access to each other and other critical resources.

Limited Collaboration: The few expert resources in Kentucky must be able to communicate regularly with each other as well as with all the other individuals, agencies and organizations across the state and the country that will help them plan for, and respond to, any potential disaster.

Limited Funding: Disaster planning and response experts are now being tasked with more than they could ever accomplish. There is little funding to bring experts together with those that must participate in the planning and implementation process. Unproductive “windshield time” is unacceptable for the experts as well as community leaders who are already too busy to spend time on this problem. While many realize that they must do something, the cost and time commitment required, combined with the perception by many that a disaster will never occur prevents needed action.


WHAT CAN PROACT DO? Experts from across the state need easy access to each other, and the stakeholders who will be tasked with developing and implementing disaster plans. Since these resources do not have the time or the financial support to travel then another means of communication must be used to bring these people together. Telehealth connectivity could be the channel that allows stakeholders from diverse geographic areas to meet face-to-face, helping facilitate preparedness and response efforts, and if a disaster should occur, PROACT can quickly bringing stakeholders together 24x7 to facilitate response efforts.

The PROACT Network

The Preparedness & Response On Advanced Communication Technology (PROACT) network is the interactive videoconference network that links Public Health officials, community healthcare facilities, regional Bioterrorism Coordinators and all other stakeholders of Kentucky’s disaster preparedness and response efforts. Sites commit to participating in programming that:

  1. bring the regional BT coordinators together on a regular basis
  2. deliver disaster preparedness and response educational programming to communities
  3. engage communities in the statewide planning and response efforts
  4. be able to reach out across state lines to other PROACT-like networks for regional and national disaster response
  5. provide a channel to connect victims of disasters with specialists from anywhere in the world, including the CDC in Atlanta

List of participating programs and map

For more information, contact Rob Sprang, MBA at rsprang@uky.edu or 859-257-6404.

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Page last updated Saturday, July 18, 2009