Public health Airmen engage civilian partners during readiness training Published June 20, 2019 By Senior Airman Jonathan Padish 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard SIKESTON, Mo. (AFNS) -- Airmen, including Alaska Air National Guardsmen of 176th Medical Group, deployed in support of Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation Tri-State Innovative Readiness Training 2019 coordinated with civilian agency partners to promote agency interoperability during public health site visits to multiple locations, June 18. The service members met with representatives from the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Commission to view operations at a livestock auction facility and a dairy farm. One of the goals of the visit was to better understand multi-agency involvement in the process that delivers food from producers to consumers. “Several agencies are involved in farm-to-table,” said Amy Morris, a Cape Girardeau County Public Health Commission, public health specialist supervisor. “In the beginning, the department of agriculture is involved. Once the animal is slaughtered, that’s when public health takes over.” Because of the nature of public health inspections, interagency cooperation is key. According to Morris, different agencies have different perspectives. If one agency sees something that warrants action by another agency, the agencies can communicate to ensure all issues are addressed correctly. Military public health specialists assigned to DAEOC Tri-State IRT 2019 agreed with the emphasis on interagency collaboration. Tech. Sgt. Erika Dolinsek, a 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard public health specialist, said proactive engagement with civilian agencies ensures open lines of communication between points of contact in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Moreover, proactive public health education means a healthy community. Morris said the main goal of public health is to reduce the overall number of illnesses. For the military, the goal of public health is the same. “For us, the main thing is preventative care,” said Dolinsek. “Our goal is to make sure people are better educated about public health.” DAEOC Tri-State IRT 2019 is a joint service training exercise that leverages military and community resources to provide military training to service members, including engagement with community partners to promote interagency operability and share organizational best practices.