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Pandemic Flu: Interprofessional Education Goes Statewide in Arizona

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In Arizona, a Pandemic flu exercise will encompass students and faculty from all all three state universities. The exercise is designed to help future health professionals deal with public health emergencies.


Pandemic Flu: Interprofessional Education Goes Statewide in Arizona

Posted by Jody Thompson on Nov 16, 2012

For the first time ever, an Interprofessional Education & Practice (IPEP) mini-course--Pandemic Flu: An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness--will go statewide to include students and faculty from all three state institutions: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

On November 27, nearly 550 students and more than 40 faculty facilitators at eight different sites will be linked together through Telemedicine video conferencing technology for the simulated pandemic exercise in emergency preparedness.

IPEP Pandemic Flu

Since its debut in 2008, the pandemic flu exercise has engaged students through interprofessional teamwork, which helps future health professionals to address the threats and consequences of public health emergencies. In 2012, what used to be a single-day pandemic flu exercise was transformed into a four-week mini-course--Pandemic Flu: An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness. The mini-course includes online learning and interaction in addition to the live interprofessional teamwork experience. After completing introductory learning online, students work in interprofessional teams of six during a simulated pandemic emergency to explore medical, social, psychological, legal and public health issues they would face in real-life pandemic emergency.

Reaching across Arizona to include all three state universities

The effect of a pandemic emergency allows for student involvement across all health science disciplines. This year, the 548 students will come from UA Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and UA Zuckerman College of Public Health in Phoenix and Tucson, UA James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson, ASU School of Social Work in Phoenix and Tucson, and NAU Department of Physician Assistant Studies in Phoenix.

Students will be spread out across eight different sites, each representing a different community in Arizona. Seven sites will be located in Tucson on the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) campus and one site on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. Each year, increasingly sophisticated communication technology plays an integral part in the simulated pandemic, and with eight sites in two different cities, it will take a crew of nearly 10 people to manage the technology on November 27.

Mock newscasts start off the simulated pandemic and are streamed to the eight sites where students will be working in interprofessional teams. Each site is connected to a central Emergency Operations Center (EOC) through Telemedicine video conferencing technology. The Telemedicine video conferencing allows for real-time audio and video communications between all sites and the EOC.

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Bill Wetzel is Amskapi Pikuni aka Blackfeet from Montana. He's a former bull rider/wrestler turned writer and a coauthor of the short story collection "The Acorn Gathering." His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the American Indian Culture (more...)
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