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Upcoming Webinars on Resources to Improve Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response

Posted By Jeanette Stehr-Green, Friday, September 11, 2015
Updated: Friday, September 11, 2015

The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) released the second edition of the CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response in April of 2014. The Guidelines describe the overall approach to foodborne disease outbreak response (including preparation, surveillance and outbreak detection, cluster and outbreak investigation, and control) and provide recommended practices in each of these areas to help agencies and jurisdictions improve local foodborne disease outbreak response.

The Guidelines capture the approaches (and genius) of some of the great foodborne disease investigation and control programs in this country, portraying their successful practices in black and white for all to see (and learn from). The Guidelines are chockfull of recommended activities that can help every program in the country (big and small) be one of the greats!

But the Guidelines were not made for light (or bedtime) reading (nor for finding the practices that will help improve your program on the fly). They are lengthy (244 pages plus appendices!) and read more like a textbook. They include hundreds of recommended practices some of which are well accepted with demonstrated effectiveness in most settings and some of which that are more cutting-edge show promise. Because the recommended practices require vastly different resources and result in different levels of impact, implementation of any particular practice cannot be recommended wholesale to all programs. Rather individual practices must be carefully considered by each agency/jurisdiction in the context of a host of factors before limited resources are used on their implementation.

So what’s a foodborne disease program to do? That is where the CIFOR Guidelines Toolkit comes in. The Toolkit was designed to help agencies and jurisdictions easily explore and implement the CIFOR Guidelines in a way most appropriate to the agency’s/jurisdiction’s mission, goals, and resources.

The Toolkit promotes a simple stepwise process guided by a series of worksheets. It brings together the right people – an interdisciplinary workgroup within a jurisdiction with knowledge and practical experience in epidemiology, environmental health, food regulation, laboratory science, and communication. It provides “keys to success” to help the workgroup identify areas which are in greatest need of improvement (called “focus areas”). It slices and dices the CIFOR Guidelines recommendations within these focus areas so that the workgroup can easily drill down to the recommendations that are most appropriate for that agency or jurisdiction. And it helps the workgroup make plans to implement those activities in a prioritized fashion.

Two upcoming webinars, one for managers and directors of local and state environmental and public health departments (the decision makers) and one for staff responsible for the investigation and control of foodborne diseases and outbreaks (the worker bees), will describe the CIFOR Guidelines, Toolkit, and other available resources to improve foodborne disease outbreak response.


CIFOR Guidelines and Toolkit Implementation Webinar Series:

CIFOR Guidelines and Toolkit Implementation Webinar for Decision Makers
Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 3:00pm Eastern
Registration required:

CIFOR Guidelines and Toolkit Implementation Webinar for Public Health Professionals
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 2:00pm Eastern
Registration required:

Both webinars will be recorded and archived on the CIFOR website for future viewing.

Jeanette Stehr-Green, MD is a consulting medical epidemiologist for CSTE and the lead developer of the CIFOR Guidelines Toolkit. For more information on CIFOR, please visit the CIFOR website. For more information on CSTE’s food safety activities, please visit CSTE’s Food Safety Subcommittee page.

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