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Emergency Preparedness for Health Professionals in a Statewide AHEC Program: The First Two Years

Fowkes, Virginia FNP, MHS; Blossom, H John MD; Anderson, Heather Karr MPH; Sandrock, Christian MD, MPH

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3180cc2b9c
Disasters
Abstract

In 2003 through 2005, the California Statewide Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program developed an educational delivery system, through partnerships with six AHECs and state organizations concerned with emergency preparedness, to train for public health emergency preparedness the health professionals who practice primarily in the state's medically underserved areas. Four educational modules—General Emergency Preparedness, Bioterrorism, Chemical and Radiologic Agents, and Emerging Infections—were developed and delivered by a trained, multidisciplinary, community-based faculty. The authors discuss the organization, partnerships, curriculum, faculty, characteristics of trainees, outcomes of the program, effects for AHECs, and the evaluation used to commit the organization and program process to the intended program objectives during the two-year period.

Over 9,000 health professionals attended one or more of the 462 educational presentations. Approximately one third of attendees were physicians, and 82% of the learners were from sites that typically care for the underserved.

Important to the success of the program (which still continues in a revised form) were the types of partnerships, an orientation of the curriculum to all-hazards disaster preparedness, the delivery of educational sessions at clinical sites, and the increased capacities of community AHECs to facilitate continuing professional education. The challenges were the diminished role of a key partner organization, uncertainties within the funding agency, and the widespread geographic area to address.

Author Information

Ms. Fowkes is senior research scholar and associate director, Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, and director of evaluation, California Emergency Preparedness Program, University of California–San Francisco, Fresno campus, Fresno, California.

Dr. Blossom is professor of clinical family and community medicine, and director, Statewide AHEC and Emergency Preparedness Programs, University of California–San Francisco, Fresno campus, Fresno, California.

Ms. Anderson is associate director, Statewide AHEC Program, University of California–San Francisco, Fresno campus, Fresno, California.

Dr. Sandrock is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of California–Davis, Sacramento, California, and medical director, California Emergency Preparedness Program, University of California–San Francisco, Fresno campus, Fresno, California.

Correspondence should be addressed to Ms. Fowkes, Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine, Modular G, 1215 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94305; e-mail: (vfowkes@stanford.edu).

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges