An interesting thing happened the other day. I was invited to Washington to participate in a Pandemic Influenza Leadership Forum Conference on June 13 sponsored by HHS. While the details aren't fleshed out yet, there will be a blogging piece to it.
With topics like When Pandemic Influenza Occurs: Setting the Stage for Individual Preparedness and A Vision for a Preparedness Movement, and with high level White House, HHS and CDC involvement, it should be a good time to catch up on current status and give input on where the online community sees things going.
There's also a sponsored blog to be set up by HHS, in addition to continued netroots blogging, that will take place over a five week period. Each week, a question will be posted to the internet with (hopefully) interactive response.
What is the purpose of the Department of Health and Human Services campaign for pandemic preparedness?
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is engaging national leaders across business, health care, faith-based and civic sectors in an effort to communicate the importance of individual preparedness for pandemic flu and the unique and important role employers, faith leaders, civic leaders and health care providers have in encouraging other people to prepare.
These national leaders are coming together via two events: 1) the Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog and 2) the Pandemic Influenza Leadership Forum. The Leadership Forum is a one-day conference to be held on June 13th in Washington, DC. In the weeks leading up to and following the Forum, the five-week-long blog summit will take place online to provide participating leaders with an opportunity to have a conversation about pandemic preparedness with the broader public.
Why a blog summit?
HHS recognizes that the conversation about individual preparedness for pandemic flu must extend beyond the gathering in Washington, DC and that, in fact, it already has ? with the vibrant conversation about pandemic flu that is underway within social media, in which many individuals and leaders already participate.
Vibrant conversation? Social media? That would be us, folks.
How will the blog summit work?
To help drive the conversation, a set of specific questions on ideas and plans for preparedness will be asked throughout the blog summit (see below for a list of discussion questions)...
What are the questions?
Why should we, as Americans, be concerned about personal preparedness for pandemic influenza? Why is it important that individuals commit to prepare? Why is this particularly important to me, as a community, business/labor, religious, or health care leader?
What challenges will I, along with my peers, face in mobilizing those whom I influence? What are my community?s concerns? What do I need from the Department of Health and Human Services ? or others ? to be able to make a contribution? Have I faced other challenges in mobilizing my community from which there are lessons learned? What is an appropriate role for me as it relates to this issue? What am I willing and able to do?
Are there existing programs that I am aware of that might be useful to helping to communicate the importance of personal preparedness for pandemic flu? How can they help? What is it that motivates me to lead and how can this knowledge help me to motivate others to lead as well? Who else in my community would I want to be engaged in this issue?
What are some of the lessons learned from the Leadership Forum?
What will be the top factors in achieving our collective goals? What will successful mobilization look like? What will be my next steps?
That first and second set of questions, about why to prep and what makes people prep, have been tackled by us, but this time, we get to address 'how long' and 'why' to the folks who make policy, as well as hear their responses. I'll be participating as a poster and blogger as well as an audience member; here's a chance for you to talk to both policy makers and a broader audience with your questions and concerns.
As we get closer to the event, I will share what information I can gather. But however this shakes out, credit is due to the organizers for at least being willing to try to put the "public" back in public health, and to try some innovative approaches that involve the online community. There's wisdom in crowds, at least there is if enough people participate.
previous flu posts can be found by clicking my name