The quarterly PIHOA E-Newsletter features news, upcoming events, and resources for the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands health community.  
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Volume 1, Issue 1
Quarter 1: May 2016
59th PIHOA Executive Board Meeting Recap
The 2016 PIHOA Executive Board and Associate Members and the PIHOA Secretariat Staff.  Proxy members are also included in the photo for Board Members who could not make the meeting.
Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei Directors of Health greet Her Excellency, The Republic of the Marshall Islands President, Dr. Hilda C. Heine after she opens the 59th PIHOA Executive Board Meeting as the Keynote Speaker.
The 59th PIHOA Executive Board Meeting was held in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, hosted by the RMI Ministry of Health.  The meeting brought together key national and regional stakeholders, Pacific development partners, and US federal agency leadership to discuss health issues of regional significance. 

Key topics that were discussed by the PIHOA Board and Associate Members included public health accreditation readiness, climate change issues in the jurisdictions, updates on non-communicable and communicable diseases in the islands, USAPI emergency services for children, TB and leprosy in RMI, and updates from stakeholders and regional partners. 

Stakeholders and partners who presented at the meeting include, CDC leadership from the Office of State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CDC OSTLTS), senior leadership of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Pacific Community (SPC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region IX (HHS Region IX), and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

At the end of the meeting, the PIHOA Board and Associate Members reflected on the presentations and topics discussed and set goals on key priorities through official communiques, resolutions and recommendations. Click here for meeting presentations, documents, and photos.  

A message from the PIHOA Board President

To all my colleagues on the PIHOA Board and or other members and Affiliates: I want to wish you a warm Hafa Adai from Guam. 

I am very grateful to the Government of the Marshall Islands for their hospitality and warm reception during our 59th PIHOA meeting.  I want to also welcome our two newest members: Minister Kalani Kaneko Minister of Health for the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Magdalena Walter, Secretary for Health for the Federated States of Micronesia. 

The 59th Meeting will set the benchmark for the way forward for PIHOA as an organization and for the establishment of the Honolulu based Secretariat Office, very capably lead by Ms. Emi Chutaro. 

I was very encouraged by the presence of so many Federal HHS high level attendees.  I think this bodes well for all of us as there appears to be genuine interest in supporting our activities and also in strengthening the capabilities of the PIHOA Secretariat.  It is no secret that there have been financing challenges at the Secretariat.  The new Cooperative Agreement with CDC directly with PIHOA offers great opportunities to increase the Technical Assistance expertise at the office.  This will offer all of us in the Region a more direct source of assistance in maters of grants writing and management, executive and other staff development, and of course more opportunities for cross sharing of ideas and solutions to problem solving that we mutually agree we need. 

The 60th meeting, to be held in Honolulu will also mark the 30th anniversary of PIHOA.  That in it self is a remarkable achievement.  It speaks well of the willingness of all of us in the Region.  While we have differences, we share one commonality, we are islanders, and we are willing to work together on common goals.  Truth be said, we only have ourselves to rely on.  US assistance and other Development Partnerships can come and go, wax and wane.  Bottom line is: we can only truly rely on the partnerships and cooperation we build among ourselves. 

I look forward also to building stronger and more meaningful working relationships with our Affiliates and look forward to perhaps having an Affiliate representative as part of our Board. 

I look forward to seeing you all at the 60th Meeting!

Sina Ma'ase

-Director James Gillan, Guam DPHSS

Outbreak Detection Training in Pohnpei, FSM

In December 2015, PIHOA , WHO , SPC , and local facilitators from Pohnpei and Palau jointly facilitated the Data for Decision-Making (DDM) 803 course for Outbreak Detection & Response.  The week-long course is one of 5 courses in the DDM training program.  Trainees were provided an overview of basic epidemiology principles as applied to disease outbreaks, including overview of surveillance systems and the International Health Regulations (IHR), hands-on training in use of Excel for processing data, and use of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network’s Pacific Outbreak Manual as a tool for managing disease outbreaks.   The DDM program is accredited by the  Fiji National University (FNU).   Click here  for the full report on the success of the course.
Dr. Cash & Dr. Hancock Conduct DDM Training Yap, FSM
CDC co-located staff at the PIHOA Guam office, Dr. Haley Cash, CDC’s NCD Regional Epidemiologist, and Dr. Thane Hancock, CDC’s Career Epidemiology Field Officer, facilitated the first of five DDM courses, Introduction to Surveillance, from January 25-29, 2016 in Yap, FSM.  Twenty-one trainees from the Yap Department of Health participated in the course.  Participants were trained in understanding and developing surveillance procedures/plans, and system flow charts, including reporting templates for communicable diseases, NCDs, and FSM Compact indicator surveillance.  They have also traveled to Kosrae, FSM in February and March  to conduct the same course (see next E-Newsletter).
Dr. Haley Cash and Dr. Thane Hancock pose with DDM participants in Yap, FSM.
Brand New TB and Influenza lab in Guam

In January 2016, Ms. Vasiti Uluiviti, PIHOA’s Regional Laboratory Strengthening Coordinator, and Mrs. Lea Nisay, Guam Public Health Laboratory (GPHL)’s Tuberculosis Lab Technician, gave PIHOA’s Executive Director, Emi Chutaro, a grand tour of the brand new TB and Influenza testing facilities funded by DOI .  Next steps would be to ensure that all activities leading up TB culture and anti-mycobacterial susceptibility testing are in place and compiles with U.S. CLIA regulations before GPHL can commence TB culturing.  Congratulations GPHL!
CNMI Launches NCD Hybrid Survey

In January 2016, CNMI launched their first Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Hybrid Survey, a pilot project that combines key NCD indicators from CDC’s BRFSS Survey Tool and WHO’s NCD STEPS Tool.  It is anticipated that the hybrid approach will serve as a collaborative model for the region, reduce duplication, and strengthen local surveillance systems and efforts.  Data collected from this survey will aim to provide core NCD disease and risk factor prevalence data representative of the entire CNMI population.  Good luck CNMI!
Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA)
Training-of-Trainers, February 29th – March 11, 2016
Johannesburg, South Africa

SLMTA Trainers & Trainees Group Photo
SLMTA Trainees Group Discussion
The PIHOA Regional Lab Coordinator, Ms. Vasiti Uluiviti and the Association of the USAPI Laboratories (AUL) President, Mr. Manasa Mainaqelelevu, who is also the Quality Manager at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center Laboratory, American Samoa attended a 2-week SLMTA Training of Trainers (TOT) in Johannesburg, South Africa from Feb 29th – March 11th 2016.

The training was organized by the African Center for Integrated Laboratory Training.  The attendance of the SLMTA training for the two individuals were made possible through funding from APHL and CDC.

Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) is a structured quality improvement program that teaches laboratory managers how to implement practical quality management systems in resource-limited settings using available resources.  With a series of short courses and work-based improvement projects supported by site visits and mentoring, SLMTA is designed to achieve immediate, measurable improvement in laboratories, thus, focusing towards laboratory accreditation with ISO or equivalent.

SLMTA, a CDC initiative for US PEPFAR-funded African countries was launched in 2009, and has since been implemented in some 617 laboratories in 47 countries worldwide. 
Ms. Uluiviti and Mr. Mainaqelelevu were the first Pacific participants to be accepted to attend such type of SLMTA training.  Should any of the USAPI labs opt to implement SLMTA, then they would be the first laboratory in the Pacific to implement this initiative.

The training was attended by 24 participants comprising of 19 lab professionals from the African region, 2 from Belarus, 2 from the USAPI and 1 from Myanmar.   SLMTA trainers included master trainers from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, a student master trainer from South Africa and one of the CDC grandmothers of SLMTA, Dr. Katy Yao.

The training was an intensive one that ran from 7.30am to 6.30pm each day with additional homework to be completed before the next day.  Instruction included short lectures with more hands-on or group activities, with teach-back sessions that each participant was assessed on.   This teaching and learning style effectively facilitated and enhanced adult learning.

Both Ms. Uluiviti and Mr. Mainaqelelevu successfully completed the SLMTA training and are now certified as SLMTA trainers. SLMTA is the next initiative on the PIHOA Regional Project agenda and the regional lab coordinator will be working closely with the USAPI laboratories to determine the USAPI pilot lab for this SLMTA initiative.
Ms. Uluiviti participating in a group activity
Mr. Mainaqelelevu during a hands-on activity
PIHOA Executive Board Member Highlights
RMI Minister of Health, Kalani R. Kaneko

Minister Kalani R. Kaneko was born in Majuro, Marshall Islands.  He entered the Army on December 28, 1995 and received Basic Combat Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He earned the highest badge in peacetime, the Expert Infantrymen Badge on August 1998 at Ft. Irwin, California.   Kaneko retired from the US Army on December 31, 2015. He held many leadership positions during his 20 years of service in both combat and combat support occupations. He ran for Majuro Atoll senator seat and was elected in November 2015.  Senator Kaneko was recently appointed as the Minister of Health for the Marshall Islands on 28 January 2016.
Kaneko's civilian and military education includes; Senior Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Warrior Leadership Development Course, Army Recruiter Course, Station Commander Course, Equal Opportunity Leader Course, Safety Officer Course, Unit Prevention Leader Course.  He graduated from Moanalua High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also earned an Associate of Science in Marketing and Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut. 

Kaneko served as an infantryman from 1995 to 2001. His troop assignments include 1st of the 50th Infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia and 2nd 11th Armored Calvary Regiment at Fort Irwin, California. Kaneko held several infantrymen positions; he served as a rifleman, gunner, team leader, squad leader, and Bradley Commander.  He also served as a Military Police Sergeant.

Kaneko was selected for recruiting duty on January 2001 and reported to the Kapolei Recruiting Station and served as a Field Recruiter. In 2004, he was assigned as a Station Commander at Kauai Recruiting Station, Kauai, Hawaii with additional responsibility of the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ US Army Recruiting Effort. He served his last assignment in Portland, Oregon and was assigned as the Portland Battalion Senior Master Trainer from 2011 to 2015. He was responsible for identifying trends, develop, design, and implementation of trainings. As a Senior Master Trainer, Kaneko’s area of responsibility included Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Japan, Korea, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Minister Kaneko is married to Lorraine Aron formerly of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.  They have two sons, Kalakini and Michael; one daughter, Lolani.  Minister Kaneko is one of the newest PIHOA Board Members and has been very instrumental with improving the health in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.  We look forward to what Minister Kaneko has to offer our island nation.

PIHOA Spotlight: Dr. Brian Magnum
Dr. Brian P. Magnum, a Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics from FNU , has been contracted by PIHOA to work as a Professor of Public Health at the College of Micronesia FSM (COM-FSM).    Dr. Magnum works under a joint project agreement between PIHOA , FNU , and the College of Micronesia –FSM , with funding from the University of Arizona’s (UAZ) HRSA -funded Public Health Training Center program.  Dr. Magnum’s scope of work includes continuing professional development for the current public health workforce, developing educational opportunities for further study at the bachelors level and beyond, and assistance to the educators,  administrators, and public health practitioners in the USAPIs.
Dr. Magnum at the 2015 PBMA meeting in Palau

In September 2015, Dr. Magnum, working alongside Dr. Greg Dever, PIHOA’s Regional Human Resources for Health Coordinator and other PH professionals in the Pacific, assisted in the establishment of the Pacific Basin Public Health Association (PBPHA) that will aim to give Pacific public health workers in a critical voice. The PBPHA had its inaugural meeting in September 2015 in Palau at the  Pacific Basin Medical Association  meeting hosted by the Belau Medical Society. These meetings were supported by funding from PIPCA.      
Local & National Events

May 17-19, 2016
15th Annual National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) Conference
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
May 22-June 4, 2016
12th Annual Festival of the Pacific Arts
Location: Tumon, Guam
May 24-26, 2016
2016 Gathering for Pacific Islander Health
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
June 4-10, 2016
2016 Annual Association of Public Health Laboratories Meeting
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

July 11-15, 2016
2016 Pacific Islands Program Collaboration and Service Integration Conference
Location: Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

August 10-12, 2016

August - September 2016: TBD
60th PIHOA Executive Board Meeting
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

September 14-16, 2016

October 12-14, 2016

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