Health and Family Services Cabinet
Upcoming Summer Workshop Will Train Volunteer Medical Professionals
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jul. 9, 2009) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) will conduct a free day-long workshop on July 18 in Lexington to provide basic training for volunteers and medical professionals from across the state who are interested in offering assistance during public health emergencies. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. at the Lexington Convention Center (430 W. Vine St.).
The workshop will provide an orientation and training for the Kentucky Health Emergency Listing of Professionals for Surge (K HELPS)/Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program.
“This upcoming workshop will play in integral part in planning response efforts that protect our communities in the event of a large-scale public health emergency,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner for public health. “We are seeking both medical and non-medical personnel who are interested in helping others make a difference in their local communities.”
The K HELPS program is a state-based system to register medical professionals interested in volunteering to offer assistance during public health emergencies or disasters. It was designed to complement the existing Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) programs, community-based organizations that organize and utilize medical professional volunteers to supplement existing local emergency and public health resources for responding to emergencies. Under the new system, K HELPS and local MRC units will work together. Currently, the MRC program covers all 120 counties in Kentucky, with local health departments sponsoring most units in conjunction with local emergency management agencies. To register as a K HELPS volunteer, visit https://khelps.chfs.ky.gov/VolunteerMobilizer/.
Topic sessions for this year’s workshop include orientation to the MRC and K HELPS programs, introduction to the Strategic National Stockpile, and setting up and operation of a Point of Dispensing (POD) clinic. Free continuing education credits (CEUs) will be provided for most professionals.
While all health workers willing to volunteer are invited to register, the current emphasis is on recruiting physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, radiological technologists, respiratory therapists, emergency medical services personnel, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, and communications, administrative and non-medical personnel. DPH began to build the K HELPS program during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, registering approximately 1,400 health and medical professionals interested in volunteering medical support to affected areas in the Gulf Coast. Since then, the system has been used to provide volunteers for other public health emergencies, such as the ice storm that struck Kentucky last winter.
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact the DPH Preparedness Branch at (502) 564-7243, and select Option 5, or visit http://chfs.ky.gov/mrcworkshop.