Public Health Practice – The Center for Preparedness Education’s mission is to enhance preparedness skills and knowledge through affordable, needs-based training; customized organizational assistance with disaster exercises; and comprehensive preparedness related resources. The Center for Preparedness Education is a joint endeavor between Creighton University School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center and is a part of the Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness and Emerging Infectious Disease that is housed within the UNMC College of Public Health.
The center conducts both live and web-based trainings for public health professionals, health care professionals, first responders, and emergency management. In addition we assist with developing, conducting, and evaluating disaster preparedness exercises across Nebraska. In any given year we interact with 600+ individuals at more than 30 events.
Over the last three to four years the importance of disaster exercises has been highlighted through such events as the Boston Marathon bombing. Boston area hospitals, emergency medical services, and law enforcement credit practicing their joint response as a key to their actions in this tragic event. The Center for Preparedness Education has addressed this need by providing trained disaster exercise practitioners to help develop, conduct, and evaluate exercises for Nebraska’s response community. Our exercise team has conducted annual functional exercises with three of Nebraska’s six Medical Response Systems. These exercises have involved hospitals, public health departments, EMS, law enforcement, and emergency management working together to practice responding to the type of incidents seen often in Nebraska. In addition the team has conducted numerous smaller exercises for hospitals and public health.
In response to the changing educational needs of our audiences, the center is now offering more training opportunities using distance technologies. In addition to webinars, we also offer a comprehensive library of videos from past educational sessions that are available for in-house educational sessions or for individuals to review on an as needed basis.
This article was written by Keith Hansen, MBA, assistant director of the Center for Preparedness Education, and by Sharon Medcalf, PhD, associate director of the Center for Preparedness Education and an instructor in the UNMC COPH Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health.