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Is The Tennessee Governor 's Task Force On Disaster Preparedness For Pandemics?

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Problem

The Tennessee Governor 's Task Force on Disaster Preparedness for Pandemics has

been created and tasked with thinking ahead to the next pandemic threat to the great state of

Tennessee. This task force must analyze Tennessee’s past reaction to pandemic threats,

specifically focusing on the 2009 Novel H1N1 Influenza A (H1N1) breakout. This analysis must

include what Tennessee had right and wrong in its approach in 2009, a benchmark comparison

with other states on their methods, processes, or best practices, and insure that the state is in

compliance with the U.S. National Strategy for Pandemics.

The Task Force must then make recommendations to the Governor on how to prepare

for and manage the next pandemic threat to
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In the United States, state and federal health authorities moved

rapidly to respond to the growing threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

played a leading role, developing and issuing guidance on a range of issues.

As in most states, Tennessee’s public health community feared that the new disease

would soon appear within its borders. By the end of April 2009, cases of H1N1 had surfaced in

the state. With this new and potentially virulent strain of influenza spreading rapidly, State

Health Commissioner Susan Cooper and her leadership team determined it essential that the

state, its regions, and the independent “metros” operate in a coordinated manner (Giles &

Howitt, 2011). Health officials knew that to implement an effective response, they would have to

closely coordinate with several other state agencies – especially with the Tennessee

Emergency Management Team (TEMA), which plays a leading role in emergencies.

TEMA has opened its own state-wide EOC at the same time that the Department of

Health had stood up to its State Health Operations Center (SHOC), anticipating that the state

might confront a full-blown, devastating crisis (Giles & Howitt, 2011). Cooper believed that

TEMA’s early reaction made sense, and if the pandemic worsened, TEMA could assume

greater responsibilities,
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