a health worker wears a medical mask and protective eyewear

IOM Panel Studying Health Workers' H1N1 PPE Needs

By Sept. 1, the 14-member committee will provide a letter report to CDC and OSHA addressing personal protective equipment needs for this crucial workforce.

At the request of CDC and OSHA, an ad hoc committee of 14 public health leaders has been assembled by the Institute of Medicine to study health care workers' PPE needs against the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus and issue a letter report to both agencies by Sept. 1, 2009. Seating is already filled for an IOM workshop on this topic Aug. 11-13 at the National Academy of Sciences Building, 2100 C Street NW in Washington, D.C.

The committee's roster includes Trish M. Perl, M.D., MSc, director of hospital epidemiology and infection control and the hospital epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital; Peter Palese, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, a renowned researcher of the pathogenicity of influenza viruses who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000; Raina MacIntyre, Ph.D., professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and leader of the Strategic Priority Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit of Australia's National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance; William H. Kojola, industrial hygienist for the AFL-CIO's Department of Occupational Safety and Health; Howard J. Cohen, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the Occupational Safety and Health Department at the University of New Haven and former editor in chief of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal; and M.E. Bonnie Rogers, DrPH, associate professor of nursing and public health and director of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center and the Occupational Health Nursing Program at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, and a past president of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

The workshop has four goals:

  • Examine the emerging science and clinical experience base associated with nH1N1
  • Discuss criteria used to delineate infection control guidelines
  • Discuss criteria used to assess risk to the health care workforce
  • Examine what's known about the effectiveness of medical masks, respirators, gowns, gloves, and eye protection in preventing nH1N1 and seasonal influenza transmission

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