Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Clinicians First Defense in Preparedness: CDC Director Addresses AMA

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Clinicians First Defense in Preparedness: CDC Director Addresses AMA

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- The American health care system is learning how to prepare for disasters the hard way, and the first lesson has been that front-line clinicians play a key role in identifying and working to control epidemics, Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates.

Recent experience with anthrax, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SAP, S), West Nile virus, and now monkeypox has framed the issue of preparedness more than she and her colleagues ever could have imagined, Dr. Gerberding said.

"Getting people mobilized is the most effective way to manage a crisis," she said.

To do that, the CDC has found, the key is to hold frequent briefings--several times a day if necessary--so that everyone involved has the same information and can present a united attack against an outbreak and head off the kind of misinformation and panic that confounded the early response to the anthrax outbreak.

"It's bold action that matters most," Dr. Gerberding said. …

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