SPOKANE, Wash. — Two presentations at Washington State University Spokane will address health issues related to bioterrorism and disease, and some of the systems for understanding and responding to these threats.

A two-hour workshop, “Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Healthcare: The State of the Art,” will begin at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the Phase I Classroom Building at the WSU Riverpoint campus, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Bill Davenhall, Health and Human Services solutions manager with the Environmental Systems Research Institute, will be the presenter. Professionals in healthcare, GIS and related disciplines are encouraged to attend the presentation and following discussion on opportunities for collaborative research.

Developers of GIS software say it is used each day by more than one million people worldwide. GIS technology is one of the fastest growth technologies in health today, helping professionals in the increasingly complex health industry manage their information to make better decisions.

The session will include the use of GIS in applications such as disease surveillance and tracking (e.g. SARS and West Nile Virus); public health preparedness (bioterrorism); healthcare business planning (rural health, location-based services, marketing programs); and hospital systems (bed management). Workshop coordinators include Kenn Daratha, clinical assistant professor and coordinator of the master’s degree program in technology management at WSU Spokane, and Kerry Brooks, associate professor and director of the GIS lab at WSU Spokane’s Interdisciplinary Design Institute.

A lecture, “Bioterrorism: The Health Systems Response,” will follow the workshop from 4-5:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Speakers include Colleen Terriff, assistant professor of pharmacotherapy at WSU Spokane, and Dr. Kim Thorburn, MPH and health officer with the Spokane Regional Health District. Terriff works with Deaconess Hospital and has published articles on hospital system preparedness for bioterrorism. Thorburn directs the SRHD, the lead agency for public health emergency response planning for 10 Eastern Washington counties.

The presentations will address emergency preparedness in public health, including emergency response and planning, epidemiology, biological lab capacity, chemical lab capacity, information technology and communication. Terriff will discuss the Strategic National Stockpile, a national and local plan for having medicines, vaccines and other supplies available for emergency.

Both events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited, so individuals are encouraged to reserve a seat by contacting (509) 358-7500 or e-mail at communications@wsu.edu. Metered parking is available, and $1 visitor’s parking passes can be purchased from Parking Services in the basement of the Phase I Classroom Building.

Web sites:
WSU Spokane: www.spokane.wsu.edu
Master of Technology Management Program: www.mtm.spokane.wsu.edu
Interdisciplinary Design Institute: www.idi.spokane.wsu.edu
GIS Lab: www.spokane.wsu.edu/gis/
Environmental Systems Research Institute: www.esri.com
Spokane Regional Health District: www.srhd.org