The quarterly PIHOA E-Newsletter features news, upcoming events, and resources for the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands health community.  
You're receiving this email because you provided your contact information during past PIHOA meetings. To unsubscribe please click here.
Volume 2, Issue 2
Quarter 2: June 2017

The Zika and Vector Control Summit Kicks Off in Guam!

Guam will host the Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA) Zika and Vector Control Summit this week, from June 26-29, 2017 at the Holiday Resort and Spa.

One of the first of its kind here in the Pacific, the summit’s theme is “Breaking Down the Silos for Preparedness and Management of Emergencies and Disasters in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPIs).” The four-day Summit will aim to critically discuss and reflect on jurisdiction and regional responses to recent Zika outbreaks and other arboviral infectious diseases in the USAPIs.

“Now more than ever global, emerging infectious diseases are coming to our small island communities.  No longer are these problems "out there" that we watch from the comforts of our isolated islands - now they are affecting our families and friends.  We must be prepared,” said Emi Chutaro, PIHOA’s Executive Director.

A top Summit priority will be to develop policy statements and recommendations for health leadership and regional partner consideration and action for targeted investments in strengthening public health emergency response and preparedness systems and capabilities at both jurisdictional and regional levels. 

James Gillan, Director of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services and PIHOA‘s Executive Board President said, “We must be constantly aware of the damage this mosquito borne virus can do, and support funding for all aspects of protection of the population.”

The summit will bring together members from across all Government levels, including USAPI Hospital Managers, Finance Directors, Procurement Directors, and Epidemiology Surveillance and Vector Control Specialists.

“In the same manner that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a region to protect against infectious diseases,” said Kinsey McFadden, PIHOA’s Project Manager for the Zika Surge Emergency Response and Preparedness Project.

The Summit hopes to provide opportunities for continuing professional development in a range of core public health emergency response and preparedness capabilities using a multi-sectoral, team and problem-based learning approach.

Chutaro said, “We must have all our core health systems and government processes tightened up and be much more timely and efficient to respond to any and all public health emergencies, and reduce reliance on external support where and when feasible with the limited resources we already have in place.” What it all comes down to, Chutaro said, “Public health emergency preparedness and response is our collective responsibility.”

Zika and Vector Control Summit
June 26-29, 2017
Holiday Resort & Spa, Guam
Click HERE for more information on the  Zika & Vector Control Summit in Guam!
"Strengthening Biosafety and Laboratory Preparedness for Infectious Disease Outbreaks in the USAPIs"
The PIHOA Regional Biosafety Training for the USAPI Laboratories, the 5th Association of USAPI Laboratories (AUL), and the PIHOA Laboratory Network Meeting was conducted on May 29-June 2, 2017 in Guam.  Combined to address the same goals, both the training and meetings aimed to; address and strengthen biosafety issues and challenges in the USAPI laboratories; strengthen laboratory-based surveillance and preparedness for zika, other arboviral diseases and other infectious disease outbreaks in the USAPI; enhance and strengthen collaboration among AUL members on regional laboratory initiatives; and strengthen the PIHOA laboratory network through collaboration and exchange of information with laboratories in the region and with partner organizations/institutions. 

The weeks training/meeting was officially opened by Dr. Suzanne Kaneshiro, the Chief Public Health Officer at the Guam Department of Public Health & Social Services. 

About 35 participants representing the 10 island jurisdictions in the USAPI attended the week-long event, with invited guest speakers from the Hawaii State Laboratory Division, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Fiji National University; as well as the lab representatives of the PIHOA Zika Surveillance Project from the islands of American Samoa; Kosrae, FedSM and Majuro, RMI.  Lab reports were by each USAPI lab manager/supervisor, updates form SPC and FNU and the conclusion of the first day with lab updates from PIHOA Lab Zika Team in American Samoa, Kosrae and Majuro.

Two days were dedicated to biosafety training for the participants that was facilitated by the team from HSLD led by the lab director Dr. Chris Whelen that included the co-facilitators Dr. Paul Fox and Ms. Rebecca Sciulli.  It was an interactive training that included presentations on priority biosafety topics and complementing group exercises.  Another training/meeting is planned later on in the year as a follow-up to this training.

The last two days of the meeting were devoted to the 5th biennial meeting of the Association of the USAPI Laboratories (AUL) where the following challenges/issues were the priority topics discussed: regional professional development of the medical lab workforce, standardization of lab equipment especially in clinical chemistry and hematology, vendor challenges/issues relating to lab reagent supplies and purchasing.  Action steps have been developed in the effort to resolve such situations raised.

Recommendations from the AUL will be submitted to the PIHOA Board of Directors and any other parties concerned.  Both events were successfully completed.

Successful Finance, Human Resources and Procurement Mapping Meeting held in Majuro, RMI 

In April,  ASTHO , with support from CDC and the Pacific Island Health Officers' Association (PIHOA), facilitated a business process mapping workshop with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Ministry of Health (MOH) as part of the Accreditation Support Initiative. The workshop's objectives focused on: reviewing the current status of MOH's CDC grants to identify discrepancies; discussing spend down challenges and opportunities for reconciliation; mapping MOH's grants management, procurement, and recruitment processes; and identifying opportunities for improvement to address spend down challenges and develop new standard operating procedures.

The Minister of Health, Assistant Secretary of Health, MOH Program Managers, and representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission also participated. As a result, the MOD identified opportunities to better manage its grants, spend federal funds more efficiently, collaborate more effectively with key agency partners, and streamline procurement and recruitment processes. For more information about business process mapping and the work in RMI, please contact  Leah Silva ASTHO 's directly of state and territorial performance improvement. Grants management will also be a topic for discussion during a summer webinar.  Strong partnership between the organizations and the RMI Ministry of Health continues as they make future plans for similar meeting.  
Process Mapping Meeting participants at the end of the workshop
PIHOA's Executive Director, Emi Chutaro attends the Process Mapping Meeting 

The PIHOA Secretariat and Board Representative visit Maryland and Washington D.C. 

The PIHOA Secretariat Pacific Basin Primary Care Office staff and PIHOA Executive Board Vice-President, Esther Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, CNMI traveled to Maryland to participate in the annual State Primary Care Office (PCO) Reverse Site Visit held in Rockville, Maryland  on June 6-10, 2017. The State Primary Care Office is a program of the US Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA). The PCO Reverse Site Visit is a required annual face-to-face meeting for all State PCO Directors nationwide, including the Territories and Freely Associated States of the  US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI). 

In order to make the most out of this long journey, the PIHOA Secretariat leaders and staff also scheduled courtesy visits to key partners in Washington D.C., including the US Department Of Interior 
(DOI), Health and Human Services (HHS), and HRSA-Office of Global Health, Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW), Bureau of Primary Care (BPC), and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).   

This year, the PIHOA team met with DOI leaders (bottom left): From the left to right-DOI Francisco Taitano, PIHOA staff- Dr. Angela Techur-Pedro, DOI Aimee Munzi, CHCC/PIHOA Board Vice President, Esther Muna, DOI Director Basil Ottley, PIHOA Secretariat Executive Director, Emi Chutaro, Guam PIHOA Secretariat Office and Program Support Officer, Andrea Whitt, and PIHOA Secretariat Finance Officer Luana Bass. 

The PIHOA Secretariat and Board Vice President meets with DOI leaders
PIHOA's Executive Director and Board Vice President at the HRSA Building
The PIHOA team also met with HHS leaders, and various HRSA leaders (Office of Global Health, BHW, BPC, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), and MCHB) (top right). From left to right: HRSA Office of Global Health Dana Robinson, PIHOA ED Emi Chutaro, HRSA Office of Global Health Deputy Director Austin Demby, and CNMI CHCC CEO/PIHOA Board Vice President Esther Muna. 

PIHOA ED, Emi Chutaro presented select priority health issues, diversities, vulnerabilities, and associated public health and health security implications for populations in the Pacific region, the US nationwide, and worldwide. Ms.  Chutaro further emphasized, as an example the health security breach related to the spread of the Zika virus from French Polynesia to Brazil in the recent past.

The key message was, ​in countries of limited resources like the USAPIs, the anticipated consequences of the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the proposed 2018 US Federal budget cuts, and geographical vulnerabilities to various pandemics hot spots from proximate countries​, it may be of great national security interest for the US to support development, sustainability and resilience of the USAPI nations.
Representing PIHOA and the CNMI at the 15th Annual World Congress on Public Health Conference
Ms.  Becky Robles, the CNMI NCD Bureau Administrator and Dr. Haley Cash, the PIHOA NCD Regional Epidemiologist presented at the 15th Annual World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne, Australia from April 3-7, 2017. Their presentation was titled: “Development of a hybrid non-communicable disease surveillance survey within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands”.

They were able to highlight the work that they did to develop a novel adult NCD surveillance system within the CNMI by using a collaborative approach. By working together with local partners, as well as regional and global support partners, they were able to develop a new NCD survey that combined indicators needed from various programs within CNMI and multiple support agencies into one comprehensive survey.  This allowed CNMI to effectively use limited financial and human resources to meet their data needs.
Ms. Becky Robles and Dr. Haley Cash presenting at the 15th Annual World Congress on Public Health Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
PIHOA visits the Guam LT Governor's Office
Kinsey McFadden, PIHOA’s Zika Project Manager, James Gillan, GDPHSS Director of Health and PIHOA Executive Board President met with Guam Lieutenant Governor, Ray Tenorio.

Last month, Kinsey McFadden, PIHOA’s Zika Surge Emergency Response and Preparedness Project Manager and James Gillan, Director of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services and PIHOA Executive Board President met with Guam Lieutenant Governor, Ray Tenorio.

They discussed in detail what PIHOA does in the region and their hopes for the upcoming Zika and Vector Control Summit. LT Tenorio asked if PIHOA could include him on the Zika & Vector Control Summit After-Action Report (AAR), especially when it comes to procurement as he would do all he could to assist. LT Tenorio also spoke about assisting even if it meant changing policies and laws.

Data for Decision Making (DDM) 803: Outbreak Investigations Course Delivered in Chuuk, FSM

Lead and facilitated by Dr. Mark Durand, PIHOA's Regional PM/QA/QI and Health Information Management Systems Coordinator and PIHOA Consultant, Dr. Ian Rouse, the Data For Decision Making (DDM) 803: Outbreak Investigators course provides an overview of classic epidemiology principles as applied to disease outbreaks. The course includes an introduction to surveillance systems, a brief overview of the International Health Regulations, hands-on training in use of Excel for processing data, and use of the PPHSN’s Pacific Outbreak Manual as a tool for managing disease outbreaks. Hands-on work included an introduction to data set cleaning and analysis of several data sets, and the use of a standardized situation report (SitRep) template for rapid reporting of outbreaks.

This has been the first module for Chuuk state in an ambitious project to produce Epi-Technicians and surveillance/health information system improvement in the FSM through the DDM program.  The students remained engaged and enthusiastic through the module with good attendance each day and no drop-outs after the first day. This group was streamlined since the initial selection of 40 candidates during the Chuuk DDM planning consultation held in November 2016. With re-forming of the class roster, selection of longitudinal program projects (DDM-804: Applied Epi Project Course) has been progressing well.

Overall enthusiasm for the program was evident among the participants and they engaged in all activities with a very clear passion to make a difference for the Chuuk State Department of Health. Success of this course would not have been possible without the coordination and support from the Chuuk State Department of Health.

Check-out the recent publications of the Doctors and Dentist for Tomorrow Program (DDFT), "The Heartbeat Newsletters"
Photo Section
Here are the 2017 PIHOA Executive and Associate Board Members and Proxies with PIHOA Executive Director, Emi Chutaro and Meeting Facilitator, Jim Pearsol in Saipan, CNMI during the 61st PIHOA Executive Board Meeting back in March 2017. PIHOA thanks the CNMI CHCC Staff for their tremendous support that made this meeting a success! Meeting documents and presentations will be available on the PIHOA website within the next few weeks. The PIHOA website is currently down for server updates and PIHOA apologizes for the inconvenience. An E-Blast will be sent out once the documents and presentations are available online.
October 3-5, 2017
The 62nd PIHOA Executive Board Meeting will be on October 3-5, 2017 in Honolulu, HI!

Meeting invitations will be sent out in the next two months. Please contact the PIHOA Secretariat, Honolulu Office if you have any question at 808-537-3131.  
Local & National Events

June 27-29, 2017
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

September 20-21, 2017
Location:  Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

September 25-28, 2017
Location: Atlanta, GA

October 3-5, 2017
62nd PIHOA Executive Board Meeting
Location:  Honolulu, HI

October 24-26, 2017
Pacific Islands Preparedness and Emergency Response Summit
Location: Chicago, IL

November 4-8, 2017
Location:  Atlanta, Georgia

Spring 2018
Pacific Islands Preparedness and Emergency Response Summit
Location, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Have something to share?

If your agency or organization would like to contribute to  the Quarterly PIHOA newsletter, please  contact us Content should be of interest to public health professionals in the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, and should concern the public health and healthcare system field and related activities.