Grass & Grain

11-18-2014

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By Lucas Shivers In respect to current glob- al health concerns and dis- ease outbreaks, a partnership between the Kansas State University Biosecurity Re- search Institute (BRI) and local hospitals and county health departments led to training events. BRI, housed in Pat Roberts Hall at Kansas State University, is a research and education facility focused on "farm-to-fork" infectious disease research. BRI seeks to learn more about how to improve plant, animal and human health. The 113,000- square-feet lab and educa- tion space is dedicated to the protection of crops, live- stock, food and people from biological threats. "We have an agricultural slant with our research," said Julie Johnson, assistant vice president for research com- pliance and BRI biosafety officer. "For example, we work to develop vaccines for animal diseases; better diag- nosis for animal and plant diseases; and food process- ing safety as well." As subject-matter experts for biological safety and compliance, the BRI team helps to translate the techni- cal details into effective learning so researchers can apply and understand what they learn on a daily basis. "Our team is responsible for making sure all of the in- fectious disease research is done safely," Johnson said. "We provide training to all researchers and support staff with both classroom time and hands-on experiences." Since 2008, BRI has worked with not only in- house researchers and sup- port staff but also members of the education and health care community across Kansas, specifically with a recent off-site program at Mercy Regional Health Cen- ter in Manhattan. "We make sure people are safe, research is safe and the environment is safe," John Webster, education officer, said. "Human safety is our top priority both inside and out." Mercy Project Due to the increased awareness of some high-pro- file diseases, the team is partnering with Mercy to complete a train-the-trainer series of exercises. "It was great to go into Mercy and share the essen- tials of biosafety," said Bethany Lamer, BRI instruc- tional designer. "The essen- tial messages of safety are the same, even though it is a very different environment between our research facility at BRI and the hospital." For the first safety and risk management training in late October, five BRI biosafety and education and training staff members worked with about a dozen Mercy staff in a train-the- trainer model. "We here at Mercy Re- gional Health Center have had a great opportunity to partner with K-State's BRI staff over the past several weeks," said Jana Bowman, public relations director for Mercy. "The partnership de- veloped specifically in re- gards to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and as an ef- fort to prepare ourselves if a case happened to present it- self here in Manhattan." One part of the training focused on donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and gowns. Properly putting on and removing full-body protective equipment pre- vents the spread of disease through direct contact of blood or body fluids of a per- son who is contaminated with a virus. "Doing good effective training for donning and doffing PPE is hands-on and really intensive because you have to observe very close- ly," Lamer said. "It is skill that requires practice to be- come proficient in the safest ways to not cross-contami- nate others. You can't just do it once." Webster said that often, personal protective equip- ment is used to help keep pa- tients free from infection, but when dealing with high- consequence infectious dis- ease it plays a major role in also keeping staff and their environment safe. "We wanted to train our hospital staff on the proper use of PPE, and since we know that the BRI staff uses PPE on a daily basis, we By Donna Sullivan, Editor To an audience of more than 650 attendees with a va- riety of water interests, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Water Vision Team present- ed the second draft of the Long Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas that was developed throughout the past year in response to the Governor's challenge at last year's water conference. The Governor's Water Conference was held November 12 and 13 in Manhattan. "As I look out at the fu- ture of Kansas, one of the big things that we've got to resolve is our issue of water. We need a 50-year vision, we need a plan," Brownback said. "We need to do this the Kansas way, which is where you get everybody together and say, 'WE'VE got a prob- lem. What are WE going to do about it?' And you work things out." The silting in of eastern Kansas reservoirs that sup- ply water to a number of downstream communities, as well as the areas they're lo- cated in, along with the de- pletion of the Ogallala aquifer in western Kansas are the most pressing items to be addressed, according to Brownback. While emphasizing his belief in finding local solu- tions to regional problems, Brownback also announced two actions designed to im- prove coordination on water- related issues among the state's agencies. The first will be to create a Gover- nor's Water Resources Sub- Cabinet that will include representation from the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Brownback will also estab- lish a Blue Ribbon Task Force to develop adequate funding for resource man- agement and protection, which will include both pub- lic funds and private partner- ships. He charged legislators in the room to provide the lead- ership needed to bring forth more bills that would give greater flexibility to the Local Enhanced Manage- ment Areas (LEMAs). "The whole idea of a LEMA real- ly, is that local individuals over the groundwater they're in can work to control their own destiny," the governor explained. "That they can conserve and extend the life of the aquifer in their area." Dredging of some of the reservoirs in eastern Kansas is part of the plan, but stream bank stabilization projects will also be utilized to keep the silt from getting into the reservoir to begin with. The plan will look at each water basin in the state and set goals for each one based on their particular chal- lenges. "The keys to success are based on the foundation of a shared understanding of water resource needs and agreement among the major- ity of stakeholders on the goals Kansas and its citizens are trying to achieve," Brownback stated. "While goals are important, the ap- propriate tools need to be readily available, stakehold- ers need to have the freedom and flexibility to meet the goals and use the tools." He added that a rigorous review and evaluation of progress towards achieving the vision would also take place. The Water Vision draft is divided into four themes: Water Conservation, Water Management, Technologies and Crop Varieties, and Ad- ditional Sources of Supply. Under each theme are phases of action items with time lines ranging from highest priority that will be initiated if not completed within the first year, items that will be initiated within five years, and longer terms items that may require additional re- search, development and stakeholder coordination be- fore they can be initiated. The draft can be viewed at www.kwo.org. "At this conference a year from now, progress must be evident to maintain credibil- ity with the public," Brown- back said. "Serious, mean- ingful goals must be in place, local leadership must have shown their commit- ment to taking necessary ac- tions to guarantee a long- term water supply, Phase 1 items should be at least 75% complete and significant de- velopment of additional LEMAs should be under way. Stream bank stabiliza- tion projects should be con- structed and dredging proj- ects should be under way." "I believe in the resilience and commitment of Kan- sans," he concluded. "I be- lieve that local control is best. We have a responsibili- ty to future generations, to make sure we take necessary actions to maintain a reliable water supply for their use and for our state's growth. I believe in you and your lead- ership to make these efforts effective. If we fail, if progress does not occur in implementation and goals are not being met, future generations will ask us why. So let's make this work. This is the Kansas way of doing things, addressing difficult challenges together and leaving this world and our state better than we found it." Brownback continues push on long-term plan for state's water supply Following 250 meetings in the past year that included more than 12,000 Kansans, the second draft of the 50- Year Vision for Water in Kansas was presented at the Governor's Water Conference November 12 and 13 in Manhattan. Above Gov. Brownback emphasizes his commitment to dealing with water issues in the state. Professionals from K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) train medical staff at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan on the use of personal protective equipment. Hospitals learn from K-State training partnership Continued on page 3

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