Public Health Threats Become Easier to Handle with New Grant

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Multnomah County Health Department has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Robert

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Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the Common Ground: Transforming Public Health Information Systems initiative. Common Ground is a three-year, $15 million national program to help state and local public health agencies better respond to health threats such as pandemic flu, bioterrorism, and chronic diseases by improving their use of information systems.

Public health data systems track information such as cases of reportable infectious diseases like E. coli, tuberculosis, measles, and salmonella. Health officials note that enhancements to the data systems will make their agencies more efficient and allow them more time to investigate and treat disease. In emergency situations, streamlined data systems could also help track a large outbreak such as pandemic flu.

According to Amy Sullivan, Epidemiologist for Multnomah County Health Department, "Recent developments in health information technology have created tremendous opportunities for public health agencies. Multnomah County's award from Common Ground will help us improve information systems and business processes, which will enhance the way we communicate and exchange data."

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