Laboratory Pandemic Preparedness: Maintaining a Warm Base

Laboratory results play a critical role in guiding public health decisions both between and during influenza pandemics. During a crisis, laboratories are expected to respond to a large number of test requests and may be required to rapidly implement new diagnostic tools. However, these capabilities cannot be deployed during a pandemic without proper pre-pandemic planning or the maintenance of a “warm base.” To sustain the strides that have been made over the past ten years, maintaining funding for laboratories is critical.

Dan Jernigan, M.D., Deputy Director for the Influenza Division at CDC, and Peter Shult, PhD, Director of the Communicable Disease Division and Emergency Laboratory Response at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, join Kelly Wroblewski, MPH, Director of Infectious Disease Programs at Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) in discussing: (a) the vital role of public health laboratories in influenza pandemic response; (b) the ability of laboratories to respond by building a warm base; and (c) the ongoing efforts to maintain laboratory pandemic preparedness.

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Kelly Wroblewski

Kelly Wroblewski, MPH, MT (ASCP)
Director, Infectious Disease Program, Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)

Kelly Wroblewski, MPH, MT (ASCP) is the Director of the Infectious Disease Program at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). She received her Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and her bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology from the University of Scranton. She joined APHL in 2008 as the Manager of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis Programs. Prior to joining APHL, she worked as a microbiologist in several clinical and research laboratories.

Daniel B. Jernigan

Daniel B. Jernigan, MD, MPH
Captain, United States Public Health Service

Daniel B. Jernigan, MD, MPH, is a Captain in the United States Public Health Service and serves as Deputy Director (since 2006), Senior Medical Officer, and Senior Public Health Service Officer of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1994. In 1996, he began serving on assignment from NCIRD to the Washington State Health Department as a medical epidemiologist and coordinator of national initiatives to improve surveillance for emerging infectious diseases. He became the Chief of the Epidemiology Section for CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) in 2001.

Pete Shult

Pete Shult, PhD
Director, Communicable Disease Division and Emergency Laboratory Response, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene

Pete Shult, PhD, is Director of the Communicable Disease Division and Emergency Laboratory Response, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. He received his doctorate degree in Medical Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has more than 30 years of experience in clinical and public health microbiology with service in the private, university, and public health sectors and directs statewide emergency laboratory response during disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. He currently serves on multiple local, state, and national public health planning, preparedness, and response working groups dealing with pandemic influenza, bioterrorism, and emerging and vaccine-preventable diseases.