U offers crucial resource for businesses preparing for a pandemic
“So, is the H1N1 pandemic over or just taking a break? What should you tell your organization about the days ahead? What can you say about a possible a third wave of illness or even what to expect with seasonal influenza? We're at a critical crossroads, colleagues…”
So begins a recent Osterholm Briefing to business leaders by world-renowned infectious disease preparedness expert Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and editor-in-chief of the subscriber-based service that distributes his briefings, CIDRAP Business Source.
“The focus of Business Source is infectious disease threats and the bottom line for business,” says Aaron Desmond, CIDRAP’s director of business preparedness. Desmond says Business Source provides subscribers with:
- credible information about the effect of infectious diseases on employee health, and
- practical, authoritative advice about measures employers should take to prevent or mitigate the effect of these diseases on their workforce and the continuity of operations.
A comprehensive approach to business preparedness
In addition to the briefings, Business Source hosts online and in-person events for professionals tasked with preparing their companies for the threat of an infectious disease pandemic. More than 4,000 people have participated in the nine webinars the service has hosted and each of its three summits has attracted, on average, more than 250 attendees.
The service also produces special reports. The recent Doing Business During an Influenza Pandemic, developed by Business Source in collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management and with contractual support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received more than 120,000 downloads within the first month of release.
Business Source has a core subscriber base of 400 professionals who have access to:
- Osterholm Briefings and special alerts
- targeted and vetted breaking news about infectious disease
- online access to materials from webinars and summits
- human resources tools and best-practices resources.
Business Source subscribers are mostly from mid- to large-sized businesses, including FedEx, 3M, Microsoft, and ExxonMobil. The service has also attracted subscribers from state and local public health agencies as well as federal government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Desmond says. Complimentary subscriptions are available for University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff.
Business leaders provide collaborative ‘on-the-ground input’
Business Source is advised by an editorial board that includes business leaders who “provide essential on-the-ground input to ensure our services remain timely and relevant,” Desmond says.
“Additionally, the recent addition of former FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Target Corp. Medical Director Dr. Joshua Riff exemplify how we bridge the proverbial silos of the private sector, government, and academia to identify and share pragmatic solutions.”
Growing responsibilities for preparedness require access to the right resource
For professionals who find themselves with growing responsibilities to prepare for infectious disease threats, Osterholm’s recent Briefing highlighting the latest questions about H1N1 and seasonal influenza sums up the service’s value:
“…How you answer these questions and interpret information will affect both your organization's preparedness for the short term and others' perceptions about your ability to predict future risk. Your pandemic messaging today and your track record will be judged long after this pandemic has passed. Credibility is at stake. Let's make sure it's not a casualty. I think I can help you with that important task.”
For more information about Business Source services and upcoming webinars, visit www.cidrapsource.com.