University of Nebraska Medical Center

College of Public Health Attends WHO Meeting of Global Partners in Geneva

Sharon Medcalf, PhD GOARN logos

Public Health Practice – Thanks to Dean Ali Khan, The College of Public Health is one of 200 global partners in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Outbreak and Alert Response Network (GOARN). Although he has deployed to Sierra Leone for the West African Ebola Outbreak, and to Bangladesh for a Diphtheria outbreak, Dr. Khan will be joined by a full team of UNMC faculty and staff who will be trained by WHO to respond to infectious disease outbreaks in the future.

The College of Public Health is also renowned for its emergency preparedness training programs and was asked by WHO to be part of a sub-group of educational institutions tasked with assisting in a full revision to GOARN’s training program. To that end, Dr. Sharon Medcalf will serve as a point of contact for this project, and through training, is working with global experts to improve the world’s response to infectious disease outbreaks.

In December 2017, GOARN gathered all global partners in Geneva and UNMC was among the participants. Dr. Medcalf represented the institution and participated on several panels to decide, among other things, how the GOARN steering committee would continue to direct the network’s activities.  This meeting led to an invitation to UNMC to partner with WHO in research activities conducted during outbreaks, bringing the Vice Chancellor for Research’s Office into the activity fold.

The College of Public Health is honored to take the lead on campus in recruiting and training UNMC teams ranging from public health practitioners to clinical providers, who can be deployed across the globe. Recruitment and training are scheduled to begin this spring. Our goal is to live up to our institutional mission to “lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all.”

This article was written by Sharon Medcalf, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Director, Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases

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