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New Online Course for Mass Gatherings Preparedness

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) announces the launch of its newest online training—Mass Gatherings: Are You Prepared?
New Online Course for Mass Gatherings Preparedness

One type of mass gathering: marathon runners.

July 7, 2010

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) announces the launch of its newest online training—Mass Gatherings: Are You Prepared? This online course is designed for public health and emergency management professionals and is available on NWCPHP's Web site at no cost to the public.

Mass Gatherings: Are You Prepared? educates learners about assessing and planning for the prevention and mitigation of public health threats at mass gatherings. It covers risk assessment, surveillance, health response, coordination, and communication. The course is launched just in time for summer, when the Northwest region hosts numerous fairs, festivals, and sporting events.

Mass gatherings are preplanned events that attract large crowds and strain local planning and response resources. Music festivals, county fairs, political rallies, the Olympic Games, and the World Cup are all examples of mass gatherings. The big crowds associated with these events usually result in a higher-than-normal number of illnesses and injuries in the community where the event is being held. It is extremely important for public health to be involved early in the event planning to minimize or prevent the risk of injury or ill health and maximize safety for participants, event staff and volunteers, and community residents.

Dr. Andy Stergachis, UW professor of epidemiology and global health and recipient of the 2010 UW SPH Community Service Award, was the content expert for this module. Dr. Stergachis was involved with public health preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and has assisted with King County’s preparedness initiatives, especially in mass dispensing planning and in preparedness exercises. The module was reviewed by preparedness coordinators from around the WWAMI region, as well as members of the World Health Organization Virtual Interdisciplinary Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings.  He was assisted by a technical and editorial team of the NWCPHP, coordinated by Heather Burkland, a recent graduate of the UW MPH program.

Mass Gatherings: Are You Prepared? offers public health and emergency management workers the opportunity to prepare for and address the unique public health challenges presented by mass gathering events. The course is divided into sections, so that the learner can take the course at his or her own pace. If the learner chooses to take the course in one sitting, it should take approximately 90 minutes to complete.

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