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Respirator Preparedness in Healthcare: Where Technology Meets Good Practices

N95 Day Webinar

Co-hosted by NIOSH Total Worker Health™

Respirator Preparedness in Healthcare: Where Technology Meets Good Practices

Friday, September 5, 2014
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST*

This year’s N95 Day webinar focuses specifically on the healthcare industry. A panel of three NIOSH experts will talk about their individual research involving N95 filtering facepiece respirators (commonly called “N95 respirators”) and how that research is important to respiratory protection programs and, ultimately, the N95 respirator users in healthcare.

Dr. William Lindsley will discuss healthcare worker exposure to airborne pathogens such as influenza, and the role that N95 filtering facepiece respirators play in protecting those workers. It’s critical to understand how diseases like influenza spread so that we can determine the best ways to protect healthcare workers while still enabling them to do their jobs.

In the everyday healthcare environment, occupational need for respirators remains fairly constant and predictable. Typically, workplaces would only purchase enough N95 respirators for their short-term needs.The practice of stockpiling N95 respirators for use by healthcare workers during times of very high regional, national or international demand (e.g. pandemic influenza) begs the question of what to do to continue offering worker respiratory protection in the event that supplies of N95 respirators become depleted during the event. Edward Fisher, Associate Service Fellow for the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, will discuss the recent NIOSH guidance on extended use and limited reuse of N95 respirators that might be authorized when demand outstrips supplies. He will specifically address the concern that extended use and limited reuse of N95 respirators may allow pathogens to be transferred from the respirator surface to the hands of healthcare workers during donning, doffing, or handling. NIOSH has developed a model to estimate N95 respirator contamination in healthcare settings to assess risk during times when these practices are in place.

Dr. Dana Rottach will continue the topic of supply issues in a discussion on stockpiling. Organizations have been encouraged to stockpile N95 respirators in advance of public health emergencies. Like other medical devices or safety products, N95 respirators do not last forever even under ideal storage conditions. As most N95 respirators historically have been used within a few years of manufacturing, and the N95 classification is itself less than twenty years old, NIOSH has not yet noticed significant problems in the field relating to degradation of approved N95 respirators. However, many organizations stockpiling N95 respirators have contacted NIOSH with concerns about the products purchased in response to pandemics between 2005 and 2011, which are reaching manufacturers’ identified expiration dates. The presenters will describe ways in which respirators may degrade during storage, good storage practices, and how to determine if stored respirators are likely to be effective when needed.

Dr. Debra Novak is joining our panel of presenters for participation in the Q &A portion of the webinar. The webinar will allow time for an extensive question and answer session with the panel presenters where specific questions about the topics described above, or other pressing issues, can be discussed.

This webinar will be available via Adobe Connects. REGISTRATION by September 4, 2014 is required. Space is limited and registrations will be accepted on a first come first serve basis. We will inform you if you have been placed on a waiting list. Groups of interested parties from one location are encouraged register as one entity and to dial in as a group. The login information and passcode will be forwarded to registered participants on or before September 4.

REGISTRATION IS FULL for the live webinar, but a link to the recorded webinar will be made available.

Central Time – 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mountain Time – 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Pacific Time – 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

For webinar opportunities and important topics, please see the NIOSH Total Worker Health™ page.

Webinar Presenters

Dr. William Lindsley
Dr. Lindsley received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego. He began working for NIOSH in 1999. Dr. Lindsley is currently studying the role of infectious aerosols in transmission of diseases such as influenza and the efficacy of measures to protect healthcare workers from these illnesses. He designed a two-stage cyclone personal aerosol sampler that has been used to conduct aerosol sampling for influenza virus in healthcare facilities. His group has also collected cough-generated aerosols directly from influenza patients and examined the amount of virus contained in these samples using genetic and culture-based methods. Dr. Lindsley designed a simulated exam room containing coughing and breathing simulators which is being used to study the exposure of healthcare workers to cough aerosols and the efficacy of different type of personal protective equipment. He is also studying the potential application of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to allow the reuse of disposable respirators in a pandemic and the disinfection of the interior of ambulances.

Dr. Dana Rottach
Dana Rottach has been a physical scientist at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) at NIOSH for 4 years, and is currently researching respirator stockpile issues. Dr. Rottach has degrees in materials engineering, chemical engineering, physics, and mathematics. Prior to joining NIOSH, he worked in biophysical modeling and neuroscience. His doctoral work at the University of New Mexico examined the effect of aging on the elastic properties of rubber.

Edward Fisher, M.S
Edward Fisher received his M.S. in Biology from Duquesne University in 2006. He is currently an Associate Service Fellow at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) at NIOSH. In this position, Edward conducts research involving microbial contamination of personal protective equipment including filtering facepiece respirators, surgical masks, and gowns. Ed is the author or co-author of 13 manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals. He has been working at NPPTL since 2006.

Dr. Debra Novak
Dr. Novak is currently a Senior Service Fellow with NPPTL/NIOSH. Debra holds a PhD in Nursing from The University of Alabama-Birmingham and has over 30 years of experience in the field working in a variety of clinical, research, and faculty positions. In her current position, she is responsible for translating PPE research findings to clinical workplaces and thereby promoting safer healthcare worker practices. She serves as a project manager for several NIOSH-funded healthcare research projects and sits as an invited member on several national healthcare professional practice committees.