From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Idaho’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Christine Hahn, recognized nationally for her work

Congratulations to Dr. Christine Hahn

I’d like to offer a heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Christine Hahn, Division of Public Health medical director and state epidemiologist. As you likely know, her leadership, expertise, and guidance during the pandemic has been critical to Idaho’s success in slowing the spread of COVID-19. In acknowledgement of her extraordinary contributions as Idaho’s epidemiologist for nearly 25 years, she was presented Thursday with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Pumphandle Award, which is a coveted, annual award for outstanding achievement in the field of applied epidemiology.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter that describes some of Dr. Hahn’s career highlights:

“Although an infectious disease physician by training, Dr. Hahn has not limited her work to infectious and communicable disease epidemiology. She has provided expertise for an impressive wide variety of epidemiologic investigations in Idaho ranging from studying blood lead levels of children living in the Bunker Hill Superfund Site area of Idaho (to collaborating on the Idaho Cancer Cluster Analysis Work Group to study brain cancer clusters in Idaho. Dr. Hahn is responsible for implementing two public health programs in the last 5 years: Idaho’s Expanded Access Program created to make Epidiolex© available to children suffering from seizures as part of FDA clinical trials and Idaho’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program to address the opioid crisis.”

We are grateful for her dedication to public health, and we are lucky to be able to work so closely with her during this pandemic.

Working to improve the online experiences of those we serve

In October 2020, the Department of Health and Welfare rolled out a new mobile friendly website to better meet the needs of those we serve. The new website is easier to use and navigate, and it organizes our programs and services in a way that makes it easier to find the information you need. However, that was just the beginning of our commitment to improving your online experience.

Recently, we completed a redesign of the My Choice Matters site. This website highlights Medicaid’s promise to listen to what adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have to say about what is, and what is not, working in their services. The new site meets all WCAG 2.0 standards for accessibility.

Improving your customer experiences is an important piece of our strategic plan. In my blog next week, I will share more details about our commitment to creating innovative, respectful experiences for those we serve.

Free COVID-19 tests

In case you missed it earlier this week, DHW is providing free PCR tests to anyone who calls the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 and asks for one. They are available to people regardless of whether they have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who was sick.

The test involves collecting saliva and mailing it to a laboratory that analyzes the sample. Saliva collection can be done in the convenience of a person’s home with the assistance of a trained VAULT Medical observer via a virtual Zoom visit on a smart phone or tablet. More details are available on our website.

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday

All DHW offices are closed today in recognition of Juneteenth,a new legal public holiday observed by Idaho Code following the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on June 17, 2021.

Have a safe and healthy weekend.

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