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The Pacific NorthWest Border Health Alliance (PNWBHA) is an international collaboration of public health partners’ at all levels of government, including Tribal and First Nations. Its goal is to provide leadership in the integration of health sector preparedness and response initiatives throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

The annual PNWBHA workshop provides a forum for public health partners to form vital relationships and discuss crucial cross-border preparedness and response policies. The workshop’s goal is to promote tracking of public health threats across borders and provide for a quick, efficient and seamless cross-jurisdictional response.

 

The workshop alternates between the United States and Canada. Each workshop brings together about 150-200 health professionals in communicable disease epidemiology, food protection, disease surveillance and investigation, public health laboratory diagnostics, emergency management, emergency medical services and first response, risk communication, Aboriginal health, surge capacity, public health law and academia.

 

Participants come from Canada (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the Canadian Federal Government) and the United States (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and the United States Federal Government), including Canadian First Nations and Native American Tribes.

 

The first day of the meeting provides an Orientation Session for new attendees. The afternoon sessions are Workgroup sessions. The meetings brings together the opportunity for face-to-face presentations and discussions. Initiatives that originated in annual workgroup meetings have led to the signing of several important information and resource-sharing agreements. The Work groups are:

 

  • Track 1 Epidemiology and Surveillance (including Food Protection)
  • Track 2 Public Health Laboratories
  • Track 3 Public Health Emergency Management
  • Track 4 Public Health Emergency Medical Services
  • Track 5 Communications
  • Track 6 Public Health Law
  • Track 7 Indigenous Health
  • Track 8 Clinicial Medical Surge
  • Track 9 Environmental and Public Health
General sessions (plenary and breakout) are held on the second and third day. Each year the workshop is designed to address: emerging public health threats, including pandemic influenza preparedness and tracking infectious disease; and health services challenges, including post disaster recovery and surge management. It provides an opportunity for regional public and private health sector entities and other government agencies to discover discuss and develop effective border health plans and programs.