On April 6, 2016 the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety hosted a course designed to increase healthcare worker safety when treating patients with highly contagious infectious diseases such as Ebola. Course participants learned about tactics used by Harborview Medical Center during the last outbreak and explored new training technologies that can help to better prepare employees for hazardous situations.
Participants had the chance to experience 3 workshops, during which they experienced different training tools designed to help healthcare workers do their jobs effectively and safely.
The course participants also had a chance to put on a full VR helmet and perform surgery on an alien. While not related to the course content, this fully immersive VR experience gave participants the chance to imagine how the technology could be used in a healthcare training setting.
In the VR workshop course attendees learned that nearly anything can be designed into a virtual reality environment. They were also excited to learn that individuals in different geographical locations can work together in the same virtual environment, allowing for collaboration between professionals at different hospitals across the world.
Northwest Center ERC Trainee Kali Turner, MPH Student with the Center for One Health Research, attended the course and was excited to share her experience:
As a first year MPH student in DEOHS with a background unrelated to public health, but an interest in infectious disease and prevention, this was a perfect opportunity to learn in an interdisciplinary setting. I learned about the challenges and next steps regarding the Ebola response at the international and local level, including improving training through virtual reality and practice. I hope to continue learning about response efforts and prevention for all disasters, including infectious disease outbreaks throughout my time at UW and hope to apply these techniques in a future career. I really enjoyed the diverse presentations and now appreciate the effort it takes to don full PPE for multiple hours in a high pressure situation; it's much harder than it looks!"
You can view presentations and resources from this course! Click here to visit the course resource page.