Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

One of the joys of my professional life is my long affiliation with New York-Presbyterian Hospital. I did my internship, residency and fellowship at this fantastic medical center and have remained there throughout my career.

I thought that this alert would be useful to share how hospitals and physicians are working together to remain informed and prepared for this influenza outbreak and how New York-Presbyterian will use this as a model for all public health emergencies.

As news emerged last week of a potential pandemic swine flu (also known as H1N1 Flu), government officials quickly developed a plan for protecting the public against infection. The CDC, WHO and Department of Homeland Security have all done a fantastic job orchestrating a national and international response. Also vitally important have been local responders, especially those on the front lines of patient care—our hospitals.

New York City has seen nearly 50 confirmed cases of swine flu—the greatest concentration anywhere in the United States. New York-Presbyterian Hospital—the city’s largest—has worked closely with health officials to make preparations for patients, and to help prevent outbreaks. The Hospital’s senior administrators rapidly put in place a system of daily conference calls to update clinical staff at their five main campuses. Information has included protocols for diagnosing, isolating and treating patients. Regular updates have also been disseminated through the Hospital’s internal Web site, with links to resources provided by the CDC along with city and state information. It is a process familiar to everyone at New York-Presbyterian, which strives to be prepared for emergencies with measures including regular disaster drills.

A leading trauma center, New York-Presbyterian sees more than 630 emergency visits every day. They have seen an increase in the number of people concerned about swine flu, but as of today, there have been no confirmed cases at the Hospital.

As one the nation’s leading teaching hospitals, New York-Presbyterian is also a regular source for medical expertise. The Hospital is home to several international authorities on influenza who have recently made a number of media appearances to help inform the public about swine flu. One of these is Dr. Anne Moscona, left, professor of pediatrics and microbiology & immunology at Weill-Cornell Medical College and a pediatrician at NYP’s Komansky Center for Children’s Health. She and other Hospital experts have done a superb job in getting the word out with tips on preventing infection and advice on when to seek medical attention. They have also helped dispel myths such as the one that eating pork or pork products puts you at risk.

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