Public Health Practices: Enhancing Emergency Preparedness & Response
Public Health Practices
Enhancing Emergency Preparedness & Response
ASTHO - The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Promising Practices Staff

Jill M. DeBoer, MPH

Ms. DeBoer is Associate Director of CIDRAP with responsibility for strategic planning, and program development and oversight. She is the principal investigator on the Promising Practices: Pandemic Influenza Tools project, and she served as expert reviewer for many of the practices that address risk communications, community engagement, and resiliency.

Ms. DeBoer is also director of the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Office of Emergency Response. She is responsible for developing and exercising plans and procedures related to public health emergencies on campus and preparing Academic Health Center personnel and students for serving in public health response roles in the event of a large scale emergency event in Minnesota. She has established an Emergency Response Team, established a Medical Reserve Corps of more than 700 volunteers from the Medical School, School of Pharmacy, Nursing School, College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Public Health, and Dental School, and served as incident commander during a 60-day mission in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In addition, she works collaboratively with the local Metropolitan Hospital Compact and with the Center for Public Health Preparedness within the School of Public Health. She has served as a consultant to the CDC, Department of Homeland Security, and numerous state and local health departments on public health emergency preparedness, and teaches on this topic at the University of Minnesota.

Ms. DeBoer worked for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for 15 years before joining the University of Minnesota in June 2002. For most of her time at MDH, Ms. DeBoer held the position of section chief of the AIDS/STD Prevention Services section with responsibility for a wide range of public health programs including disease surveillance, primary prevention, mass media, counseling and testing, partner notification, and noncompliant patient management. She also served as a frequent consultant to the CDC and Institute of Medicine on a wide variety of topics including the prevention of perinatal HIV infection, the prevention and control of sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS policy development. She has served as principal investigator on multiple federal grants related to HIV, STDs, and viral hepatitis. As an officer of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and a founding member and officer of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), Ms. DeBoer influenced national policy and planning related to high-profile and often controversial issues. More recently, Ms. DeBoer held the position of director of the Office of Planning within the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Prevention and Control Division at MDH. In that capacity, she was responsible for the coordination of Minnesota's bioterrorism and public health emergency preparedness planning, including the successful development of Minnesota's initial application for $18 million in new federal bioterrorism funding.

Kathleen Kimball-Baker

Ms. Kimball-Baker is acting director of the At-Risk Populations/Promising Practices Project. She joined CIDRAP in 2006 to help launch and grow an information service designed to help businesses prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. She is an editorial entrepreneur who has spent the bulk of her career developing content that leads to real-world action in public health, medicine, and business. Throughout more than 25 years as reporter, writer, editor, product developer, and publisher, she has worked in corporate, nonprofit, academic, and news settings for such organizations as the McGraw-Hill Companies, The Houston Chronicle, the University of Texas, and the University of Houston. She has won awards for editorial excellence and new product development, has authored two books, and is an alumna of the Stanford Professional Publishing Program.

Carlos R. Cruz

Mr. Cruz is the Project Manager on Promising Practices. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Economics and a B. S. in Business Administration. Since then, he has dedicated his skills and time to furthering the development and wellbeing of diverse people and communities, first working with the American Red Cross, then with the Clinton Foundation HIV/Aids Initiative, and most recently with the Cooperative Agreement between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. He is a candidate for a graduate level certificate in Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

Wynfred Russell, MA

Mr. Russell is a program coordinator on the Promising Practices Project whose duties include conducting outreach, researching, reporting, and editing. In addition to his work at CIDRAP, Mr. Russell lectures and often writes about health disparities, cultural competency, HIV/AIDS prevention, educational equity, and immigrant issues. His articles have appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Mshale and Minnesota Daily newspapers, as well as Bush Chicken, The Perspective, New America Media, the Liberian Journal, Front Page Africa, and TLC Africa online magazines. He holds a master’s degree in public affairs and global studies and a post-graduate certificate in organizational and professional communication. He is a candidate for an interdisciplinary graduate degree in community health, comparative education, and communication studies at the University of Minnesota.

Natalie Vestin, MPH

Ms. Vestin is a program coordinator on the Promising Practices: Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Tools project. She has helped coordinate survey and review activities for the project and given presentations on the project. She also does outreach, research, reporting, and editing for the project. As part of the At-Risk-Populations project, she co-authored two chapter about identifying and providing services to at-risk populations during an influenza epidemic for a national guidance document.

She received her MPH from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, where she conducted primary historical research on the 1918 influenza pandemic and a study of risk factors for intimate partner homicide. Ms. Vestin received her B.A. in history and international human rights from Hamline University, where she conducted research on tuberculosis prevention among Somali refugees.