$250,000 grant is awarded to universities to fund emergency preparedness research

By on October 25, 2011

By Valerio Rasi–

The Center for Disease Control is funding research at the University of Louisville, which seeks to create a model to teach people how to limit the spread of a pandemic virus and other emergency countermeasures.

According to a press release, the $250,000 sponsorship will fund associate professor Dr. Ruth Carrico’s research, along with co-principal investigator Dr. Paul McKinney, associate dean for research at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences and associate director for the Center of Health Hazards Preparedness.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Louisville-Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing will collaborate.  The research will also involve students from the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health and Information, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, Sullivan University’s Pharmacy School and the Bellarmine University School of Nursing.

“The main goal of this project is to enhance the capabilities of each student, not to just help the university, but also the community, since it requires the qualities of everyone to build a bridge with the surrounding population,” Carrico said.

The project will create a criterion for teaching people how to rapidly and efficiently handle the catastrophe of a pandemic virus, such as responding to an H1N1 outbreak, or weather-related occurrences. Carrico said for the research to be successful, they need to hire the right students, based on their capabilities and skills.

“Before starting to recruit, we need to build a model focused on creating a curriculum development for finding the right candidates,” Carrico said. “This model will then be submitted to the American Red cross for creating a discipline and teaching model.”

Some topics of research include giving oral medication and vaccines to a large amount of population.

The project has already taken off.

“The model is being created. The length of the work is 12 months, so it should conclude around late summer, or the beginning of fall,” said Carrico.

According to the press release, other project goals include demonstrating transferability of the research to other health care disciplines, developing an emergency preparedness training model using nursing students as the example and to “develop and implement a simple process to notify emergency response volunteers.”

“I think it’s great they’re trying to get everyone more prepared,” said senior biology major Rachel Bartsch.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy CDC

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