zika-summit-2016 423Yesterday, we hosted our Arizona Zika Action Plan Summit in Phoenix. Nearly 350 partners from across Arizona – public and environmental health departments, healthcare providers and organizations, key state and local agencies, elected officials, public health colleagues from the Ministry of Health in Sonora, and many, many other critical prevention and response partners – attended to learn more about Zika prevention and response and share their current activities and strategies.

We were thrilled by the turnout, but even more encouraged by the participation. It’s clear from the presentations, questions, and discussions that Arizona has a robust network of professionals who are well informed, actively working on Zika prevention and response planning, and are collaborating to address this infectious disease threat. Our plenaries were well staffed with experts from state and local public health and healthcare, but audience participation from experts representing the State of Sonora, Blood Systems, the Arizona Academy of Pediatrics, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport,  and a score of other organizations demonstrates the high engagement of many critical response partners.

We’re looking forward to tallying the results of our formal evaluation, but discussion and priority setting that occurred at the summit reveals what we hoped – Arizona is prepared to respond to Zika. Key takeaways from the summit included the need for additional public education to underscore everyone’s role in preventing Zika by reducing mosquito breeding, the hope for clearer information about Zika diagnosis and health effects as the science becomes more advanced, and the need for more resources for mosquito control.

Presentations from the summit will be posted shortly on our website. A full summary of the event, including a summary of the discussions that occurred and next steps for prevention and response will also be posted on our website later this summer. Thank you to all of our partners who participated and provided your valuable insight!

I also want to thank our team responsible for putting this together. With a very short time line, they were able to hold a fantastic summit that received a lot of positive feedback and was an incredible success. A huge thanks to our planning team: Jessica Rigler, Holly Ward, Christine Wampler, Ken Komatsu, Don Herrington, Lisa Villarroel, Hayley Yaglom, Jennifer Pistole, Benjamin Palmer, Joli Weiss, Harmony Duport, William Slanta, Victor Waddell, Rosa Lira, Krista Anheluk, Irene Ruberto, Antonio Hernandez, Dianna Contreras, Sylvia Puente-Araiza, Jennifer Cunico, Ruth Penn, Corey Tarango, Paul Barbeau, and Teresa Ehnert.