Arcadia University’s new summer course on emergency preparedness for public health explores what is a public health emergency, and how it ties a broader response system during a crisis.
Open to the general community and students alike, “Emergency Planning and Response” uses real-life examples of public health emergencies—from fire evacuations to pandemic responses—to help create a tailored foundation to preparedness. Assistant Professor of Public Health Dr. Suzanne Redington, who also worked in emergency preparedness at Bucks County Department of Health for 11 years, will teach the class not only about public health’s role in emergency preparedness but also how it requires coordination from a variety of agencies.
“It covers more than just public health, by exploring the broader emergency preparedness framework,” said Dr. Redington. “It’s about gaining practical skills, whether that’s a public health student trying to gain a foundational knowledge of emergency preparedness and response or someone working out in the field looking to inform their practices back at the office.”
Dr. Redington said one of the goals of the program will be for students to complete an emergency preparedness plan for their organization for a specific situation, such as a teacher or administrator planning for a school evacuation during a public health emergency. A case study she references is when teachers and administrators had to evacuate students from their school in California during a 2018 forest fire.
“Students, teachers, and administrators were on the bus for over five hours and they needed to go through the smoke and fire to evacuate,” said Dr. Redington. “Do you have the knowledge to handle that? Do you know how to communicate with parents about this?”
Although not tailored to public health students and professionals, Dr. Redington said that each section discusses the public health aspect of a particular case study and how it would impact the health care of the communities and regions where the scenario happens, like how hospitals would need to prepare.
Classes will be taught synchronously online on Wednesdays this summer with supplemental asynchronous content.