Berrien County health department recognized for disaster preparedness

Published 8:39 am Monday, July 13, 2015

The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.

The health department demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The BCHD joins a cohort of more than 400 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.

“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Michael Mortimore, health officer of the Berrien County Health Department. “This community is a leader in emergency preparedness — in public health, in public safety, and in other disciplines. We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Berrien County.”

The PPHR recognition confirms that the Berrien County Health Department has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

The PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions.

The Berrien County Health Department is one of the key collaborators on community-wide preparedness efforts and participates in regular drills and exercises to ensure that plans are in place to respond to potential emergencies.

“When disaster strikes, it affects local communities, and local health departments are a critical part of any first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO executive director. “NACCHO commends the Berrien County Health Department for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster. Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease and improve the quality and length of all lives.

For more information about the Berrien County Health Department, visit the website or find it on Facebook. More information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, can be found at