Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Nancy Powell, and I am honored to serve as the new Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources at the Department of State. I want to thank all of you for coming and participating in this important town hall meeting. And, welcome to those who will see this program on delayed broadcast over BNET.
Today we want to discuss the Department’s plans for dealing with the H1N1 pandemic. Pandemic planning is an interdisciplinary issue in the Department that touches our posts overseas and has interagency and foreign policy dimensions. But, this afternoon, I would like to focus on the role of MED and HR and OEM in protecting the health of our workforce while we also continue to carry out the mission of the Department.
We must accomplish these two goals even if employee absenteeism is high due to illness, the need to care for ill family members, or to attend to family members prevented from entering school or daycare due to public health restrictions. I think with common sense planning, we can.
I have asked three colleagues to make brief remarks. First, I will ask Dr. Thomas Yun, the Director of the Office of Medical Services, to briefly discuss the current pandemic and what we can expect with regard to immunizations. Second, I will ask Judy Ikels from the Office of Employee Relations to touch on leave and Telework issues. And then, I will ask Robert Becker from the Office of Emergency Management to speak about how pandemic planning is different from other emergency planning.
Following their remarks, they, along with Mr. Frontis Wiggins from IRM, will take questions at the microphones in the aisles.
And now I’d like to invite Dr. Yun to speak.