In his new role, Safranek will keep Smith’s office current on developing infectious disease processes or outbreaks in Nebraska, the U.S. and globally, according to the memo. He will maintain relationships with local public health departments, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, regional task forces, the Centers for Disease Control, local and state laboratories and the State Board of Health. And he will “continue to function as a subject matter expert on epidemiological issues for Nebraska.”
So what does that leave for a state epidemiologist?
According to the description, the person would coordinate epidemiology services and disease investigation, consult, plan for and monitor disease detection, and other prevention, control and policy matters.
Other positions on the new organizational chart include an incident commander, research liaison, laboratory and information services administrator, data strategist and informatics administrator, and an interim position to lead all surveillance and epidemiological work for the public health team.
With the reorganization, six people will form the Governor’s Public Health Team — Anthone, DHHS incident commander Angie Ling and other members of the epidemiology staff, but not the epidemiologist or Safranek.
Howard also questioned where the department is getting the money for the new positions and consultant.