Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Forty days and forty nights

"Here Comes the Rain Again" - The Eurythmics ( Touch, 1983)

Jeez Louise---enough of the rain! It was kind of a drag on Saturday when we had to leave the pool, annoying on Sunday when it caused us to miss Lindsay's swimming lesson, really irritating Sunday afternoon when Asia and I were finishing up her moving stuff, downright tedious yesterday and today... well, let's just say I've had enough. We've had over a foot of rain in the last 48 hours and they're expecting 6 additional inches tonight.

I think today may be the first time our County government has activated our Emergency Operations Center because of rain. There aren't a lot of public health implications during heavy rain or even moderate flooding but that doesn't mean much; someone has to be sitting in a seat representing the agency. Fortunately our EOC is a tremendously cool place with gadgets-a-plenty so I always feel a bit like a kid in a candy shop there.

I'm making a lot of progress on a project that has a really special place in my heart. We have some grant money to deploy a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system for use in quarantine management as well as other more routine public health functions and certainly for other agencies' use in emergency operations. Places like Gallup Polls, National Opinion Research Center use these kinds of tools routinely and I've had a fair amount of experience with them from my few [turbulent] years in the contract research world. There's this sticky part, though, in that the funding source we went with has this "regional" kind of focus so the project takes on the complexity of crossing not only county jurisdictions with concerns over privacy of health data but also the technological challenges of deploying a system across multiple telecommunications and IT enterprises. So while I *love* this project and I'm so happy its been funded and I'm really really looking forward to moving some of our operations right up into the 21st century, I also hate it for the cross-jurisdictional complications. I guess there's always something...

But at any rate, we had a great demonstration of some software today that I really think is exactly what I want, is even better than I'd hoped and I'll be damned but I think we can even actually afford it plus maybe add on some interactive voice response stuff to assist with a couple of other challenges our program is facing. I've had a lot of success in my current position with introduction of new technology from the private sector. While in many cases I've been concerned that the public health world was being overwhelmed with funding and being unable to really use those dollars well, I actually feel very satisfied with what our county has been able to accomplish. And I'm so thankful to actually see the culture shift taking place, too; folks being open to new ways of doing business, etc...

Today Drew talked about some really huge amount of money appropriated for desperately needed equipment for US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In public health, we absolutely wet our pants if you start talking about projects in the six-figure range. But you know what? You can buy a hell of a lot of condoms for that kind of money and it prevents a lot of disease and despair...

I guess that's a long way of saying I had a good day at work today. Sorry. But this is my blog, right?

Mary and Fred Move Along...
Mom and Dad headed to Seattle on Sunday. They're with my cousin George (who apparently is a great hugger; ask Lyman...) and I'm dead-envious. I was supposed to get to see George in Seattle last fall when my business trip was cancelled by Hurricane Katrina related response. I haven't seen George since 1993 and, as I said, he's well-hugged. From Seattle, the units are headed to Idaho to drop off some contraband they don't want to take through Canada ( oh please don't ask...) and then to Canada and across the Alcan highway. I think their plan is to spend most of July in Alaska. They're having a GREAT time. I'm going to put up some pictures but I couldn't tell you what/where/when because I simply don't have that info. I will issue here a public plea for some photos of people that I know and love---like my sister, my nephew, my brother-in-law, perhaps???????

I've put up a blog for them but as I said, at this time, its mostly just photos and smart-aleck remarks. Click Here

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