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Kentucky Outreach and Information Network (KOIN)

Kentucky Outreach and Information Network (KOIN), Kentucky Department of Public Health

January 1, 2008

In the event of a disaster, many people will be difficult to reach by radio and television broadcasts and even by word of mouth. Most affected will be those who live in remote rural areas, do not speak English and people with disabilities, like the deaf and hard of hearing.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services/Kentucky Department for Public Health (CHFS/DPH) works to build a person-to-person network to communicate with hard-to-reach populations by holding workshops, distributing brochures and a video and other efforts. If you know families and individuals who may need special outreach, please contact your local public health department preparedness coordinators with information to help ensure they are informed in a crisis.

Population groups included in the KOIN include some of the state's most difficult-to-reach populations: Deaf/hard of hearing, Blind or visually impaired, Residents with limited English proficiency, low literacy levels and the illiterate, Elderly/children, People with disabilities, Remote rural residents, Economically disenfranchised.

Through the KOIN, the state is pushing preparedness responsibilities to trusted people and agencies in local communities, to informal and formal groups (the go-to people who are trusted sources of information on many topics) and to the media. Through the KOIN, official agencies will be prepared - and so will trusted local sources of information, the media and those who provide services to special populations.

The goal of the KOIN is to ensure that, in the event of a public health emergency, communication channels are in place and KOIN members understand and perform their roles in notifying individuals in their appropriate channels. This network can be used in emergencies and disasters as well as to protect the health of Kentucky citizens in day-to-day situations, like providing immunization clinics, diabetes education/screening or flu shot distribution.

Trust plays an important role in how people receive messages during a time of emergency. This network is crucial to the state plan for reaching vulnerable populations, which include people who reside in rural areas where radio, TV, satellite and cell phone signals can be spotty; people who do not speak English and people who are blind, deaf or disabled.