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Preparing Public Health Nurses for Pandemic Influenza Through Distance Learning

Authors

  • Everly Macario,

    1. Sc.D., M.S., Ed.M., is Public Health Consultant to the California Distance Learning Health Network, San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego, California,
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  • Lisa D. Benton,

    1. M.D., M.P.H., is Public Health Medical Officer III and Chief of the Bioterrorism Planning and Preparedness Section, Immunization Branch, Richmond, California,
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  • Janet Yuen,

    1. M.P.H., is Health Education Consultant II at the California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch, Richmond, California,
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  • Mara Torres,

    1. R.N., M.P.H., is Nurse Consultant II at the California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch, Richmond, California,
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  • Violet Macias-Reynolds,

    1. M.S., M.Ed., is Executive Director of the California Distance, Learning Health Network, San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego, California,
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  • Patricia Holsclaw,

    1. M.H.A., is Public Health Programs Manager at the California Distance Learning Health Network, San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego, California,
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  • Natalie Nakahara,

    1. M.F.A., is Creative Director at the California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch, Richmond, California
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  • Marcy Connell Jones

    1. Chief of the Information and Education Section at the California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch, Richmond, California
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Everly Macario, 5629 S. Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: Everly_Macario_ScD97@post.harvard.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT As a global influenza pandemic appears imminent with the spread of avian influenza, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) and the California Distance Learning Health Network (CDLHN) presented a live 90-min satellite broadcast and subsequent 2-hr small group problem-solving tabletop exercise to practice interventions needed to minimize the consequences of a pandemic event. Public health nurses (PHNs), managers, and other staff in laboratories, clinical care, veterinary medicine, environmental health, public information and safety, emergency management, and transportation down linked the program, broadcast by satellite from the CDHS Richmond Laboratory Campus, to view on-site locally. PHNs represented the professional category with the highest number of participants for those conducting the program outside of California. For those in California, PHNs represented the professional category with the second highest number of participants. Participants and distance-learning facilitators completed a training evaluation survey. Continuing education credits were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to participants who completed the satellite broadcast evaluation. This distance-learning-by-satellite method of education paired with an activities-based tabletop exercise, and a focus on local rather than State-based responsibility, marks an innovative method of training PHNs and other staff in emergency preparedness response.

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