Wednesday, February 10, 2016
This week, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps officers aided the Genesee County Health Department in clearing a months-long backlog of blood lead level screening results for the Flint community.
Thirteen Commissioned Corps officers, all with clinical and public health backgrounds, cataloged results of nearly 800 finger-prick blood tests, primarily from children, and mailed the test results along with educational materials. As a result, state and county health officials – who played an integral role in clearing the backlogged tests – have been able to provide these results to the impacted families. The data has been reported to the state, as required.
“We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with community leaders and local health officials to support the community in response to this crisis,” said HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Karen DeSalvo, who oversees the USPHS Commissioned Corps. “Looking forward, we will continue to work together, doing all we can to ensure that every child in Flint has access to the screening, treatment, and care they deserve.”
DeSalvo is in Flint today to meet with officials from the Genesee County Health Department, community partners, and Commissioned Corps officers.
“It’s an honor to serve the residents of Flint,” said Capt. Phil Farabaugh, who is leading the USPHS strike team efforts on the ground. “We stand ready to bring our technical skills and our effort to this community in their hour of need.”
The 6,700 officers of the Commissioned Corps comprise the only uniformed service solely committed to protecting, promoting and advancing the health and safety of the nation. Members often serve on the front lines in public health emergency and crisis situations, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the tragic shootings in Roseburg, Oregon and most recently in West Africa treating Ebola patients.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, who oversees the operations of the Commissioned Corps under the direction of the Assistant Secretary for Health, is scheduled to arrive in Flint next Monday to meet with health care providers and community members to discuss the city’s current water crisis.