Teaching Outbreak Preparedness in the Emergency Medicine Clerkship: An Innovative Approach
Clinicians should be competent at contagious disease outbreak detection and management. Given the threat of emerging infectious diseases and biowarfare, there is a need to develop instructional methods on these topics. We have created a case-based exercise addressing sentinel case recognition, reporting, and containment. The workshop, conducted for medical students during their emergency medicine clerkship, incorporates the core competencies of systems-based practice, practice-based learning, and patient care. The workshop is held in a hospital conference room with the availability of internet, telephone, and other resources, simulating "real life." A hypothetical case of Ebola presenting to an emergency department is outlined. Participants are divided into small groups representing the physician, the local health department, the CDC, the hospital administration, infection control, and the laboratory director. Each group has 30 minutes to define their roles and responsibilities in preparation for the hypothetical outbreak. A companion manuscript is provided. Each small group then presents their approach to responding to the outbreak. The faculty facilitator then gives a 45-minute lecture. Pre and postworkshop surveys have indicated this resource is useful. It is believed that the format of the workshop is easy to reproduce and can serve as a foundation for a curriculum in emerging infections and communicable disease management, and can be applied to other educational topics. Pre and postworkshop surveys also indicated a statistically significant improvement in students regarding their comfort in accessing available resources in the event of an outbreak.
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May L. Teaching outbreak preparedness in the emergency medicine clerkship: an innovative approach. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2007;3:586. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.586