University News

H1N1 Discussion for Employees

September 11, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University chapter of UPI Local 4100 and Beu Health Center will host an H1N1 forum beginning at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 in the University Union Sandburg Theatre.

Sheila Simons, chair of the UPI Health and Safety Committee and associate professor of health studies at Eastern Illinois University, will discuss the challenges of the current flu season, as well as preventive measures individuals should follow. Simons has been a trainer with the American Federation of Teachers for the OSHA Emergency Response and Preparedness Training, as well as for the prevention of H1N1 influenza.

In addition to Simons' presentation, Mary Margaret Harris, director of Western's Beu Health Center, will discuss the University's flu preparedness plan. Prior to her appointment as Beu director, Harris served as the public health administrator for the McDonough County Health Department. Harris earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in microbiology from Western.

"The UPI is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of our members and community at large," said John Miller, WIU UPI chapter president. "The forum is designed to offer suggestions on how we can protect ourselves and help prevent an influenza outbreak on campus. I'm pleased that Mary Margaret is a part of this discussion. She has been active in leading WIU's response to the H1N1 virus and can answer a lot of questions. I think attendees will feel a good sense of confidence in Western's plans after listening to this discussion."

University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 has chapters on seven state university campuses in Illinois. The WIU chapter represents faculty and academic support personnel and has more than 750 members on WIU's campus.

"It's essential that our campus community is aware of the prevention and preparedness steps they can take to stay healthy," Harris said. "I look forward to sharing the University's efforts and to answer questions that our employees may have about our preparedness plan, as well those specific questions related to H1N1 and other illnesses."

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