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Health Communication and Technical Training 2013 Year-in-Review

Preparing Georgia schools for radiation emergencies following nuclear detonation

School preparedness training

For the CDC, ORAU emergency management experts completed two, one-day tabletop exercises to increase the preparedness of county schools in Georgia for a radiation emergency. Each of the scenario-based exercises focused on sheltering in place after an improvised nuclear device event and included nearly 50 school administrators and personnel, emergency management personnel and public health officials and workers. The exercises—which resulted from increased government review of preparedness planning, including school systems, following the 2011 Fukushima radiation incident in Japan—produced key findings that most schools are not prepared to shelter in place for 48 hours per federal guidance. Critical preparedness gaps have been summarized by ORAU and recommendations provided in a draft report to the CDC.

Supporting radiation protection workers with new professional group

RP SIG logo

At the request of the DOE Office of Health, Safety and Security, ORAU created the Radiation Protection Special Interest Group in early FY13 to support the informal sharing of occupational radiation safety and health information. This information includes training materials, guidelines, procedures, best practices, lessons learned and other resources is shared through the RP SIG website and through RP SIG listserv notifications. Radiation safety and health specialists from within the DOE community can become a member of the RP SIG at no cost, and this network fosters an ongoing dialog between DOE and its contractors to aid in the identification of new and revised DOE radiation safety and health policies and guidance for use at DOE sites.

Promoting HPV immunizations for adolescent girls and boys

Vaccine

ORAU is working on a two-year health communication project, which began in early FY13, with the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The project involves implementing a health communication and social marketing campaign to promote the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls and boys, ages 11 to 12. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that has been found to be associated with several types of cancer in both women and men. The campaign targets parents and healthcare providers through traditional media channels like radio ads, but also through digital media advertisements on targeted websites and social media channels. As an important component of the project, ORAU is conducting research through focus groups with parents of adolescent boys and girls and health care workers and is collecting data on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the HPV vaccine held by these individuals. Based on the findings from these focus groups, ORAU and CDC staff have developed HPV educational materials for these audiences that better address their needs for information about this vaccine.

Promoting flu vaccines with DOE site employees through toolkit

Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu: A Toolkit for Businesses and Employers

Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu: A Toolkit for Businesses and Employers developed for the CDC, was distributed free to 22 DOE site medical directors across the country prior to flu season for their local campaigns. The toolkit, developed by ORAU, provides information and strategies, such as hosting a flu vaccination clinic in the workplace and promoting flu vaccinations in the community. A PDF of the toolkit and podcast is available for free download. 

Helping Weatherization Training Centers attain accreditation

Weatherization

As part of DOE’s long-standing Weatherization Assistance Program, ORAU experts are providing training and technical assistance to help 34 weatherization training centers across the nation obtain Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) accreditation.

The weatherization training centers assist low-income families with improving home energy efficiency. The IREC credential is nationally recognized and sends a strong signal that a rigorous standard for quality training programs has been met. Through ORISE, ORAU has assisted nine training centers in achieving accreditation and 15 others in preparing for accreditation since 2011.