Teams of CDC, DHW staff fan out across Idaho to conduct PPE training for medical providers

Niki Forbing-Orr

Beginning today, on-site training sessions will be conducted across the state, mostly in rural areas, to train medical providers how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) properly and to instruct their colleagues and other members of the community in that process as well. These “train the trainer” sessions will help fill a critical need for these organizations and help protect their workers, residents, and patients as COVID-19 continues to circulate in Idaho communities.

Thanks to resources offered up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), four teams of two people each will travel throughout the state starting today to do about 70 “train the trainer” sessions on putting on and removing PPE. The logistical planning and outreach were accomplished by a DHW team made up of Jathan Nalls, Stephanie Sayehg, Dharmaraj “Raj” Giri, all DHW employees representing different stakeholder groups in the agency, and Dr. Kris Carter, who is a CDC epidemiologist embedded with DHW.

“We knew this training was needed because numerous EMS agencies, critical access hospitals, and long-term care facilities had asked for it,” said Jathan Nalls, program manager in the Bureau of EMS and Preparedness in the Division of Public Health. “When CDC agreed a few weeks ago to help us do the training, we immediately started planning and focusing on rural parts of the state where it would be difficult for people to attend a training elsewhere.”

The sessions are for a limited number of people who have already signed up, and it’s free. Some participants are using their own PPE, while others will be using some provided by DHW. An initial session was conducted Sunday to prepare the teams for the week ahead.

Four teams of federal and state trainers, with local public health district staff participating locally in some places, today are each beginning a route through the state that will take 8-10 days to complete, doing trainings all along the way up to three times a day. They are happening in each of Idaho’s seven local public health districts. Each of the trainees in those sessions have been asked to conduct a minimum of two additional training sessions for their agency employees or in the community.

“We are so excited to be able to make this training accessible to rural EMS agencies and other healthcare organizations who otherwise would not have access to it,” Nalls said. “It is invaluable training that will help protect healthcare providers and patients from being exposed to infectious diseases and possibly transmitting diseases to others. It’s a win-win.” 

Photos available on request.