This present paper has discussed how the systems approach can be utilized by the Director of CDC to establish an immediate response to influenza outbreak. Although the approach is effective in dealing with the pandemic, efforts need to be made to deal with arising leadership challenges
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Public health threats such as the outbreak of influenza epidemics and other chronic diseases are always present (HHS Pandemic Influenza, 2005; Public Health Preparedness, 2011). Available literature underscores the need to prevent and respond to such epidemics as their conversion to full-scale pandemics is often a reality, in large part due to poor prevention and coordination efforts by leaders (Flahault & Zylberman, 2009; Osterholm, 2005). This paper not only details how the systems approach can be used to establish an immediate response to influenza outbreak in the United States, but also discusses possible leadership challenges in dealing with the pandemic.
As the Director of CDC, it is advisable to use participatory leadership perspective to establish immediate response to the influenza outbreak. Participatory leadership uses personal practice, dialogue, facilitation and co-creation of innovation to combine a package of powerful conversational processes that aim to invite groups of the population affected by the pandemic to take charge of the challenges facing them (Bish, Kenny, & Nay, 2013). This leadership perspective improves the leader’s understanding of the pattern of influenza outbreak due to its effectiveness in surveillance and community-based information collection
Systems Approach to Establishing Immediate Response
As the Director of CDC, it is important to employ an approach that will ensure that the public health threat is neutralized as fast as possible. The systems approach is premised on the assumption that the healthcare system consists of interdependent components (Leinhos, Qari, & Williams-Johnson, 2014), and that each component needs resilience to threats built into its structure to be effective in improving, maintaining or restoring the health system (Ferris, 2013). The systems approach can therefore be used to establish immediate response by ensuring that the six key public health system components (healthcare delivery system, academic institutions, homeland security and public safety, media houses and outlets, employers and business, as well as communities) are strengthened to not only meet the demands of the Influenza pandemic, but also to establish an enabling environment for a coordinated, rapid and effective response and recovery (Leinhos et al., 2014). The strengthening of these components can be achieved through effective communication, disease surveillance, sharing of critical information, and enhancing inter-organizational cooperation.
Summary of Leadership Challenges
Leadership challenges may hinder the successful implementation of a response strategy to deal with the influenza pandemic. As the Director of CDC, it is possible to be exposed to challenges such as lack of effective communication and information sharing mechanisms, lack of cooperation from community members, lack of adequate training to deal with disease surveillance issues, and lack of expertise to mitigate the effects of the pandemic (Leinhos et al., 2014; Osterholm, 2005).
How Leadership Challenges Relate to Challenges of Others
The above mentioned challenges will ensure that other leaders (e.g., FEMA Director, CDC Governor, Incidence Response Commander, and the American Red Cross) do not have the information needed to effectively respond to the influenza pandemic. Lack of effective communication and cooperation will bring challenges to other leaders due to information gaps and incapability to consult all stakeholders in addressing the pandemic. Lastly, lack of adequate training and expertise may occasion challenges to other leaders in terms of having to rely on inaccurate disease surveillance data as well as lack of sufficient preparedness and response knowledge (Oshitani, Kamigaki, & Suzuki, 2008).
This paper has detailed how the systems approach can be utilized by the Director of CDC to establish an immediate response to influenza outbreak in the US. The approach is effective in dealing with the pandemic; however, efforts need to be made to deal with the arising leadership challenges.
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