Monday, May 12, 2008

Summit Prepares Denver Leaders to Plan for Emergencies


DENVER - Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., Mayor John Hickenlooper and more than 150 Denver leaders are gathering on May 12 and 13 for the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness - an event to bring business, government and nonprofit leaders together to prepare for public health and safety crises. Denver's role as host of the Democratic National Convention this August heightens the relevance of the summit and underscores the importance of citywide emergency preparedness.

The Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness is a national initiative to hone leadership skills needed during times of crisis and to build a network of people and organizations ready to act in an emergency. The nation's response to events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 have highlighted the importance of leaders working cooperatively in the face of disaster.

The Meta-Leadership Summits were launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation, CDC, the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative* - Harvard School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to foster greater cross-sector collaboration during emergencies. Denver is the third in a series of summits planned to engage leaders in 50 states over the next three years. Previous summits were held in Columbus, GA, and Wichita, KS.

"Denver is a model city for a Meta-Leadership Summit," says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "Leaders at both the city and state level are committed to cultivating cross-sector dialogue and strategic planning. The summit will build on these strengths and create a cadre of 'meta-leaders' who are prepared to respond to existing and unforeseen challenges."

During the two-day summit, attendees will practice skills necessary for effective action during emergencies; learn how to reach decisions in the face of uncertainty and stress; and identify partnerships that can be leveraged before, during and after a crisis. They will also participate in a problem-solving workshop to begin to explore real emergency preparedness problems for Denver and to work through potential resolutions.

The Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness is hosted by the following local organizations: Office of Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., Office of Mayor John Hickenlooper, Caring for Colorado Foundation, Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership, The Colorado Health Foundation, Molson Coors Brewing Company and Qwest Communications International Inc. Both Governor Ritter and Mayor Hickenlooper will give remarks during the Summit.

The CDC Foundation is an independent, nonprofit enterprise that forges effective partnerships between CDC and others to fight threats to health and safety.