Registration Opens for IPEP Statewide Interprofessional Pandemic Flu Mini-Course

By Theresa LeGros on Sep 5, 2013

IPEP Pandemic Flu: An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness

On October 18th, 2013, IPEP launches its second annual statewide mini-course, Pandemic Flu: An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness. For the second year, we continue to expand our reach as we anticipate hosting over 600 students from the three state universities in Tucson and Phoenix. That’s an increase of over 100 students from last year and includes new representation from Arizona State University’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation.

Registration Now Open!

IPEP invites students across the health sciences and related professions to register for the mini-course. Students from the UA Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing (MEPN and BSN programs) are pre-enrolled for the mini-course, and students in public health, law, nursing (DNP program) and social work can visit the PanFlu information page to register for the mini-course. Related professions not mentioned are also welcome to register.

The PanFlu mini-course runs from October 18th through November 15th, with the face-to-face event taking place on Friday, November 1st, 2013.

Registration closes at 5pm on Monday, October 14th.

A Blended Learning Experience

Students prepare for the live exercise through online activities. They meet their team members in an online icebreaker discussion and access learning materials and activities to help them develop an understanding of their own professional roles and responsibilities during pandemic emergencies. 

During the live event, students will arrive to find that their room assignment is more than just a classroom. Each site is electronically connected to all other sites, and each represents a real Arizona community.

This year, there will be two new Arizona communities represented in the pandemic simulation, for a total of nine rural and urban communities. Students use authentic demographic snapshots of their assigned communities as they explore the challenges of responding to a simulated pandemic. 

Some may even find themselves stationed in the Statewide Emergency Operations Center (EOC), sitting among a renowned panel of experts.

This year, we welcome back Dr. Nafees Ahmad, Dr. Richard Carmona, Charles A. Schable, Dr. Ted Tong, Dr. Andreas Theodorou, and Dr. Amy Waer.  We are also delighted to add two new participants: Toni Massaro from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law and Dr. Francisco Garcia, Director of the Pima County Health Department.

Facilitators Wanted!

Hosting hundreds of students in a mini-course in two cities requires yearlong planning for content, logistics and technology. Of particular importance are trained facilitators.

This year’s expansion calls for more professionals to facilitate student teams during the live exercise. Our facilitators include representatives from the Pima County Health Department, the University of Arizona’s Health Network and all three state universities. Facilitators come from diverse professional backgrounds and are assigned to interprofessional facilitator teams intended to model interprofessional teamwork for students. 

With an expected increase in the number of facilitators, IPEP is hosting more training sessions to help facilitators prepare. These hour-long training sessions offer a detailed look at mini-course learning objectives and the live event learning activities. In addition, the IPEP training sessions include an in-depth presentation that targets the unique aspects of interprofessional facilitation.

IPEP is looking for facilitators able to commit to the three-hour event on November 1st, as well as a one-hour training session. All IPEP facilitators receive a letter documenting their service hours and contribution.

If you are interested in facilitating, please contact Theresa LeGros at

Evolving Content for a Dynamic Environment

As we grow, we invite innovation. That invitation extends to our content planners, who each year are charged with revisiting the mini-course content to best suit an ever-evolving interprofessional learning environment. 

This year, IPEP welcomed a valuable new member to this group, Charles A. Schable, Biosafety Officer at the University of Arizona and former Director for the Coordinating Office of Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Who better to help inform “An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness?”

When asked about how his work with the CDC has shaped his view of interprofessional teamwork, Schable noted one CDC broad health protection goal: People prepared for emerging health threats. In pursuit of that goal, Schable says, “Interprofessional teamwork is the only way this will ever be achieved.”

For more information about the IPEP Pandemic Flu Exercise, visit the IPEP website, check out some of the blog articles about last year’s exercise, or this IPEP Pandemic Flu digital story.

About the Author

Theresa LeGros is a Program Coordinator for IPEP. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After a year of teaching English in Moscow, she returned to the US to obtain her MA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.

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