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Health sciences students key to emergency preparedness staffing plan

Building on the success of Louisville's response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, Ruth Carrico, PhD, plans to use a $250,000 one-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create an emergency countermeasure staffing plan that utilizes nursing, pharmacy and public health students.

Major project partners include the University of Louisville School of Nursing and the JB Speed School of Engineering.

"Ensuring effective emergency countermeasures are available to people within a community has posed challenges to public health departments and emergency management agencies across the United States," Carrico said.

"The ability and reliability of volunteers to participate in training, exercises and real-time events have been demonstrated in recent events that include weather-related occurrences and mass immunization."

The staffing plan will involve nursing, pharmacy and public health students who have achieved a level in their academic progress that allows them to be involved in the emergency response process. These students will use their knowledge and skills to give oral medication and administer vaccines.

Other project goals:

  1. Develop curricular materials for schools of nursing, pharmacy and public health based on information developed as part of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic response.

  2. Demonstrate how the process can transfer to other health care disciplines such as medical and dental students.

  3. In collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the University of Louisville School of Nursing, develop a training exercise using nursing students as the example.

  4. Develop and implement a simple process to notify emergency response volunteers.

Paul McKinney, MD, associate dean for research at the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, and associate director of the Center for Health Hazards Preparedness, is the co-principal investigator.

Other collaborators include the Bellarmine University School of Nursing, Sullivan College of Pharmacy, Kentucky Department for Public Health, Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.


Contact: Julie Heflin
University of Louisville

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