American Samoa Uses Hospital Preparedness Program Funding to Equip an All-Hazard Training Facility Aimed at Strengthening Territorial Health Care Preparedness and Response
American Samoa EMS partnered with the Hospital Preparedness Program to enhance the region’s new All-Hazard Training Facility. Providing constant training support and resources to partners across this large U.S. territory has been a challenge. The All-Hazard Training Facility serves as a central location for the health care community to connect, collaborate, and plan across tribal communities. By involving tribal leaders in training and response, health care partners are able to better educate communities throughout American Samoa and unite preparedness and response activities across the territory. HPP funding was used to provide important resources needed for learning, from conference tables to Smart Boards.
American Samoa’s health care partners are planning for upcoming trainings at the new facility for public health authorities, first responders, hospital officials, and tribal leaders across this U.S. territory. Due to critical COVID-19 response efforts, in-person trainings have been delayed with plans for a personal protective equipment refresher course in early 2022.
“When we respond, we respond together as an island. Not as government or tribal, but as one big community.”
Assistant Director of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Division
Department of Health
American Samoa consists of five South Pacific islands and is home to over 55,000 residents from multiple indigenous populations. These indigenous populations are led by tribal leaders who collaborate with territory government organizations. Due to its geographic features, the territory has wide variation in local capabilities and resources, which poses a challenge to health care and public health emergency preparedness and response.
The American Samoa Department of Health Healthcare Coalition Committee, a health care coalition (HCC) established through ASPR’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), is made up of four core members: the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center, the American Samoa Department of Health, American Samoa Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the Veterans Outpatient Clinic. The HCC recognized that it was difficult to provide consistent support and resources across the territory. In response, American Samoa EMS, the committee lead, stood up an All-Hazard Training Facility, which aims to support emergency preparedness and response by offering trainings for territorial health care, emergency, and community organizations. Ben Sili, the Director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness at American Samoa Department of Health, worked closely with Galumanemana Avegalio, the American Samoa EMS Chief, to establish the facility.
American Samoa EMS used HPP cooperative agreement funding to equip the new training facility with resources such as smartboards and meeting tables, as well as cubicles with individual computers for online trainings. The new All-Hazards Training Facility allows coalition member organizations, such as the Department of Health and representatives from the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center, to host and attend in-person and virtual trainings as well as weekly meetings. Many of the in-person training sessions at the facility will be tailored to American Samoa, ensuring capacity building supports the unique planning and communication activities required to bridge gaps between the government and tribal organizations.
Since June 2021, when the facility first opened, American Samoa EMS has hosted several HCC meetings as well as one hospital training at the facility. Several community members have also participated in virtual trainings using the technical equipment at the facility.