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  DECEMBER 04, 2009
Loma Linda Hosts H1N1 forum
Dr. Alonzo Louis Plough IIIThe Loma Linda University School of Public Health hosted a breakfast forum on November 23, 2009 about the challenges of public health preparedness related to the H1N1 influenza virus. About 140 people attended the event, which was presented by the Southern California Public Health Association and Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and supported in part by the School of Public Health’s CDC-funded Center for Public Health Preparedness.

Many attendees came from Loma Linda University, Loma Linda University Health Care and California State University, San Bernardino.

Others came from organizations such as public health departments around Southern California, fire departments and pharmacies.

Between 14 million and 34 million cases of H1N1 are estimated to have occurred in the United States since April through October 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those cases have resulted in an estimated 2,500 to 6,000 related deaths and as many as 153,000 hospitalizations.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Alonzo Louis Plough III, director of emergency preparedness and response for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Attendee Dr. Gemalli de Leon said came to the forum because she believes it will help her as she starts a postdoctoral fellowship at Loma Linda's Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, where her specific work will be with Latino populations.

“As I go to different communities, I’m sure I’m going to get questions about this pandemic, and what to do and what not to do,” she said.

After the keynote address, a panel of experts—moderated by Dr. Ellen Alkon of the University of California, Los Angeles and the Southern California Public Health Association—took the stage to discuss their experience with H1N1 and to take questions from the audience. The panel comprised the following:

  • Dr. Allan Darnell, program director of the preventive medicine residency, Loma Linda University;
  • Dr. Eric Frykman, public health officer and director of the Community Health Agency for Riverside County Department of Public Health;
  • Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, public health officer for San Bernardino County Department of Public Health; and
  • Ms. Heather LaBelle, epidemiology/bioterrorism public health nurse for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

[Photo caption: Dr. Alonzo Louis Plough III speaks during the forum.]