If your wife is a researcher in medical entomology, you’ll often hear odd tidbits related to mosquito-borne diseases. For instance, did you know how cute malaria parasites can look under a microscope? I didn’t either, until I met Cassandra Urquhart. (Some other things I’ve heard described as “cute” since then include, but are not limited to: cockroaches, nematodes, spiders, earwigs, and male mosquitoes.) She’s fascinated by her own work with La Crosse virus, excited by new papers on dengue fever, and interested in how many of the mosquitoes she’s collected at sites around Knox County, Tennessee will test positive for West Nile virus. In her spare time, she reads books on the history of yellow fever and Chagas disease for fun. Don’t get me wrong—she cares about the human toll of such diseases. But as a scientist, she’s usually more curious than alarmed about them. However, when it comes to chikungunya virus, my cheerfully bug-obsessed wife gets far more serious—and so do many entomologists. So why is chikungunya different?
Chikungunya virus seems, at first, to have a lot in common with dengue virus, another mosquito-borne pathogen. Both cause extremely painful diseases—chikungunya’s name comes from a Makonde word meaning “that which bends up,” referring to the contortions sufferers put themselves through due to intense joint pain. Dengue’s nickname is breakbone fever. Both viruses are primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and both have been moving slowly closer to the United States over the past decades, with local cases of dengue fever already found in Florida and Texas.
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first locally acquired cases of chikungunya in the United States. A woman in Miami-Dade County and a man in Palm Beach County, neither of whom had left the country recently, both came down with the dreaded disease.
There is a view that senior members of organisations are the ones who are the strategists, the shapers of the future and those who are responsible for the developments in industry and professions who form the direction of various sectors. They may well be; but in continuity, security, crisis and emergency management – they probably aren’t. The conflation of seniority in an organisation with the assumption that there is associated strategic capability is common, but where hierarchies are populated at the top end by those who have got there by a combination of luck, ruthlessness, ‘dead man’s shoes’, or any other combination of assumed capability, the reality is different.
In the world of ‘resilience’ (and for today I am combining those specialisms mentioned above – amongst others – under that term), strategies should be driven – but often aren’t - not by senior managers and directors, but by those who are able to think, consider and plan for the future. Resilience is necessarily reactive to what has happened previously and in essence is about trying to reduce the impacts of future recurrence. And to consider the wisdom of strategists we can look at any number of examples from recent years and think about why those with authority and power, kudos and seniority can’t strategise their way out of a paper bag.
No-one likes to feel that they have no control. It’s demoralising to think that someone or something else directs and influences your destiny, your future and everything involved in it. Of course, you can help yourself by learning to be assertive or adopting a particular approach to life that allows you to regain some of the control that we all risk losing in life today. However, there are many variables that influence the way our lives turn out; and to me it makes sense to reduce those variables as much as we are able.
It does seem strange that so many of us leave it quite late in life to understand that we need to take control and determine our future; that there are some aspects of life that we can affect on our own initiative and with determination. I meet a lot of people who, for example, have ‘never had the time’ to study the subject that their job involves, or who say ‘I’ve realised that I need a qualification’, when both knowledge about their business and evidence about that knowledge are both key elements of development and progression. Without them, there are gaps in capability that you cannot fill – and they are therefore filled by someone or something else – and if that happens to you, you do not have control over either your, or your organisation’s future.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The backbreaking work accomplished by volunteers in Alabama following the April 28 through May 5 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding seems to have occurred out of the clear blue sky.
- More than 25 Amish men traveled 70 miles to help a Madison County farmer clean up debris and help fix her home. They asked for nothing in return except a hot meal.
- Nearly 100 volunteers showed up over a recent weekend to cut and remove 25,000 cubic yards of debris in Bessemer. But that’s just a drop in the bucket – one month after the disaster, volunteers had removed nearly 80,000 cubic yards of debris. All these volunteer’s wanted was a “thank you.”
- In Coxey, Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian service and relief organization, brought in 471 volunteers who put in 5,900 hours in just three weeks. Also there, a local church was transformed into a storm relief center and overflowed with donations of clothes, food, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and pet and baby items for survivors. The look on survivors’ faces was ample payment for these workers.
Every year and in every disaster, volunteers fill an often overlooked role and seemingly arrive and leave the scene at just the right time. A further look will reveal a network of agencies choreographing volunteer groups with seamless precision to fill the gaps that the federal government cannot. They are called Long Term Recovery Committees or LTRC.
Charles “Larry” Buckner serves as a Federal Emergency Management Agency volunteer agency liaison in Alabama to help coordinate these efforts and provide advice. He also reviews benefit requests to make sure there is no duplication.
“As far as we know, there is $4.2 million in unmet needs in home repair in all nine designated counties in this disaster,” Buckner said. “Of these counties, seven have set up Long Term Recovery Committees, some of which had just barely shut down because of the tornadoes from 2011.”
The two remaining counties have not had LTRCs in the past but are now forming them.
While FEMA and the state can and have helped survivors, neither the federal nor state governments are empowered by law to make disaster survivors whole, that is, to fully replace all that is lost.
LTRCs pick up where FEMA leaves off. Their goal is to identify and meet as many reasonable needs as possible.
These committees are the boots on the ground determining what unmet needs exist. They, in turn, work with state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and other groups to attain what is needed, whether it is cash, workers or donated materials.
The committees are everywhere across the country, Buckner said. The concept has been in existence for more than 18 years.
These committees are made up from a variety of organizations – church denominations, local charities, community foundations and some independent groups, such as nondenominational “mega churches.” The one feature they all share is a calling to help serve those in need.
“United Way is providing case workers in some counties and may act as the fiduciary, the American Red Cross may provide case workers as does the Salvation Army,” he added.
In Alabama, Buckner said the LTRC committees are working with Serve Alabama, part of the governor’s office, and has applied for a grant to be used to hire case workers.
“With the grant, they can hire 12 case workers for 18 months,” he said. “It asks for just shy of $1 million.” If approved, the grant will come from FEMA, he added.
The case workers meet with survivors and assess their unmet needs. They take into account what FEMA provided, but FEMA grants are capped at $32,400 per household. Anything beyond that amount is where the LTRC committees can assist.
The case worker will make a recommendation to a group of three to five committee members “in such a way that the board sees the facts but may never know who that individual is,” he explained.
“That is done to prevent favoritism or being passed over based on who the survivor is,” he said. “Then, the group gives a thumb’s up or down to entirely or partially meet the unmet need. You won’t see them replacing a swimming pool, but they may replace house siding and decide to paint it as well.”
While this is going on, other members of the LTRC are working to recruit volunteer organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Mennonites and others to come in and repair or rebuild homes. Still others are securing grants large enough to meet most, if not all, of the unmet needs.
“The dollars can go into the millions,” he said.
And any excess funding all goes to meet the needs of the survivors.
“If there is a surplus, they use the money to replace furniture, appliances and other things that will help people get back on their feet.
“They want to provide people with safe, sanitary and functional homes,” Buckner said. “In some areas of the country they are not as successful. But they are here because the southern culture dictates that communities take care of their own.”
While no state is ruled out of the possibility of experiencing an earthquake, 42 states have a “reasonable chance” of having damaging ground shaking from an earthquake, according to recently updated information from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The agency’s research also determined that 16 states — those that have experienced a magnitude 6.0 earthquake or larger — have a “relatively high likelihood” of having a damaging quake in the future.
The updated U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps were released July 17 to reflect current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur. The data reflected what researchers have known: The earthquake hazard is highest on the West Coast, intermountain West and in regions of the Central and Eastern U.S., including near New Madrid, Mo., and Charleston, S.C. “While these overarching conclusions of the national-level hazard are similar to those of the previous maps released in 2008, details and estimates differ for many cities and states,” reported the USGS. “Several areas have been identified as being capable of having the potential for larger and more powerful earthquakes than previously thought due to more data and updated earthquake models.”
“What we’re doing is trying to forecast future shaking based on past behavior,” said Chuck Mueller, a research geophysicist with the USGS.
Congratulations! We’d Like You to Implement a Business Continuity Program in our Organization
Picking up the pieces and starting a business continuity program takes finding a BC mentor to a whole new level
We last spoke about finding one or several subject matter experts to help you understand a bit more about business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management in your organization. Your inquisitiveness and understanding in these areas has brought you to the attention of management and perhaps positions you to be the best candidate to continue / restart BCP efforts. You’ve become a business continuity planner!
While simple interest doesn’t necessarily get you promoted, maybe your experience in Information Technology, business operations, Audit / EDP Audit or facility management qualifies you earn the confidence needed to support your BCP efforts.
DENVER, Colo. — Peak® (formerly PeakColo), an enterprise-class IaaS Cloud provider for channel partners, announces that it has been presented with the prestigious Provider of Infrastructure as a Service of the Year by The Business Intelligence Group’s Stratus Award, an inaugural industry award competition based out of Philadelphia, PA. The award comes on the heels of a successful, cloud platform success story with DirectBuy, a customer of Peak’s cloud through Peak partner, Komodo Cloud, LLC . With a 100% channel-focused distribution model, Peak enables service providers such as Komodo to white label and/or resell Peak’s cloud and offer their own robust cloud practice to end-users.
With cloud services Powered by Peak, channel partners and resellers can rapidly enter the cloud marketplace under their own brand without capital expenditure, enjoying a faster route to profitability. Peak’s cloud nodes are located in Type II SSAE 16 and SOC 2 compliant data centers in eight geographies across the United States and in Europe.This service is not only recognized, but celebrated by the 2014 Stratus Awards, who identify companies innovating in the cloud and providing services that are truly differentiated in today’s market. Past awards for Peak include Talkin’ Cloud Top 100 Service Providers of 2013; Compuware’s Top 25 Service Providers of 2013; #13 on CRN’s Top 20 Service Providers within 2014’s Data Center 100; as well as Service Provider of the Year by NetApp 2012 and VMWare 2012.
“The Cloud is clearly revolutionizing how we use technology and communicate,” comments Dawn Fordyce, managing director of the Business Intelligence Group. “With more than 60% of businesses now utilizing the Cloud for performing IT-related operations, the organizations our volunteer expert judges select are helping to accelerate the development and adoption of cloud-based services.”
“We are proud to be one of the successful companies honored with a 2014 Stratus Award,” says Luke Norris, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Peak. “Here at Peak we pride ourselves on our exceptional service and our unique channel-centric partnerships. This string of successes will only enable us to reach even higher as cloud platform leaders.”
Peak delivers reliable, on-demand cloud computing backed by N+1 cloud architecture and 100% service level agreements. With cloud nodes available in 8 unique geographies, Peak helps channel partners onboard their clients directly to the cloud quickly and seamlessly.
To read the full press release issued by The Business Intelligence Group click here.
To read the full press release about DirectBuy choosing Peak’s cloud click here.
For more information on how to leverage the cloud for your company, please visit www.poweredbypeak.com
Provides flexible, secure, cost effective IT support services direct to end-users
SLOUGH, UK - Logicalis, the international IT solution, managed services and cloud provider, today announced the launch of its End-User Workspace Services, which sees a team of highly-skilled support specialists deliver IT services direct to business end-users.
The brand new offering is designed for the mid-marketand based out of Logicalis' UK Managed Services Centres (MSC). Putting Logicalis' expertise directly in touch with the business user, the service removes the cost and management headaches of supporting the increasingly complex needs of end-user IT, enabling internal resource to focus on adding real business-value, safe in the knowledge employees have everything they need to remain productive.
Colin Deamer, services sales director at Logicalis UK, commented, "With an increasingly mobile workforce, users now need to be connected anytime, anywhere, from any device. This changing environment has put increasing pressure on the delivery of internal end-user support services, which often fail to meet expectations and satisfaction levels."
The service is already in use at a number of Logicalis' customers, where users are benefiting from a single-point of contact for all IT support needs including enterprise mobility, Unified Communications and its core business applications.
"As organisations grow, End User Workspace Services can scale and be tailored to business need, ensuring the IT department is able to embrace the new disruptive technologies that are aligned to organisational goals," Deamer continued. "At the same time, the service is freeing IT resource from the burden of the support-desk environment, to focus on strategic initiatives and act as an internal service provider, as part of what Logicalis calls the Service Defined Enterprise."
The End-User Workspace Service is delivered via Logicalis' UK Managed Services Centres in Slough and Nantgarw. Logicalis' new MSC at Nantgarw in Wales, was opened 12 months ago and provides specialist technical support to UK businesses 24/7. This new services launch has also seen the appointment of a new team of highly skilled personnel acting as a single point of contact for end users; to provide holistic support for all end-user IT related needs.
Mark Starkey, managing director at Logicalis UK, added, "Our strategy remains centred around our customers, as we continue to enable a balanced approach to owning, operating and funding infrastructure and IT services, through Logicalis' Optimal™ Services portfolio. Our company vision is to be considered the best ICT service provider in the UK, and our MSC staff driving the End-User Workspace Services are immersed in the operational tempo and life cycles of UK organisations."
The service has three core components; Workspace Service Desk, Workspace Management Services and Workspace Lifecycle Services. Combining an extensive portfolio of solutions, technical and specialist skills and best practice processes, End User Workspace Services is built on a catalogue of solutions, offering a bespoke, scalable and cost effective approach to desktop management. For more information, please visit www.uk.logicalis.com/solutions-and-services/end-user-workspace-services
Ascribe Ltd, part of EMIS Group PLC (AIM: EMIS.L) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Indigo 4 Systems Ltd (“Indigo 4”), a leading supplier of specialised data display, integration and messaging solutions to healthcare organisations across the United Kingdom. The acquisition is in line with EMIS's stated strategy of providing cross-organisational healthcare systems.
The acquisition provides Ascribe with a set of communication and data translation tools that will help to improve patient care by enhancing the translation and messaging of electronic clinical and administrative data across primary and secondary care settings. The purchase consideration, net of cash acquired, is an amount up to £ 3.7 million payable in cash. The acquisition is expected to be immediately earnings enhancing.
Indigo 4 is based in Sheffield and has over 30 employees. For the year ended 31 August 2013, Indigo 4’s filed financial statements shows an adjusted profit before tax of £0.7 million on revenues of £2.5 million.
Indigo 4’s principal area of business is supplying messaging, order communications, clinical data repository and bureau service solutions to the NHS and private sector healthcare organisations. Over 150 NHS Trusts, CCGs (formerly PCTs), and private organisations use Indigo 4’s solutions to meet current and upcoming national standards. The company has three core products: Keystone (clinical messaging), tQuest (result requesting) and Review (patient centric data repository). Indigo 4 has been involved in the submission of Commissioning Data Sets (CDS) for over a decade.
Indigo 4 has successfully designed and implemented over 100 middleware systems which concurrently handle tens of thousands of secure clinical and administrative data interchanges each day. Indigo 4 solutions send a significant proportion of the pathology and radiology results messages transmitted from secondary care diagnostic services to GP practice systems on a daily basis.
Stephen Critchlow, Executive Chairman of Ascribe and Head of Integration for EMIS Group said:
“This acquisition provides an excellent opportunity to integrate primary and secondary care using a platform that is tried and tested. Working with the capabilities of Indigo 4 and their user base, we will be better able to deliver patient-centric multi-organisational care through integration, where every clinician is made aware of all the information they need to give the best health care possible.”
Ascribe is part of the EMIS Group – the UK leader in connected healthcare software and services. Ascribe delivers high quality clinical IT solutions and services to over 70% of the UK’s secondary healthcare providers, and serves customers in Australasia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Core strengths include Pharmacy and ePrescribing, Electronic Patient Records (including Patient Administration Systems), Unscheduled Care solutions and Mental Health Client Management systems. In addition, Ascribe provides Consultancy expertise in Business Intelligence, Transformation and Integration.
Through integration and interoperability, Ascribe, as a member of EMIS Group, helps clinicians across multiple care settings, share vital information, facilitating better, more efficient healthcare and supporting longer and healthier lives.
Ascribe is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Health Partner of the Year (2012). Ascribe is an Award Finalist in Microsoft’s 2014 Partner of the Year for Business Intelligence.