You are here: Home / Communications / News / NWCPHP and UW School of Public Health collaborate on pandemic influenza tabletop exercise

NWCPHP and UW School of Public Health collaborate on pandemic influenza tabletop exercise

On March 3, 2009, the School of Public Health (SPH), University of Washington, held a tabletop exercise to assess the completeness of the SPH Emergency Preparedness - Business Continuity Plan.

On March 3, 2009, the School of Public Health (SPH), University of Washington, held a tabletop exercise to assess the completeness of the SPH Emergency Preparedness - Business Continuity Plan. The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) facilitated the work of the ad hoc Exercise Design Committee, coordinated logistics, facilitated the exercise event, and evaluated the event. Exercise participants consisted of SPH administrators, SPH Dean's Office, department chairs, and selected other UW units and external agencies.

The scenario for this exercise simulated all phases of a pandemic influenza (flu) event. The exercise scenario was adapted and developed to address specific exercise objectives, consistent with US Department of Homeland Security Target Capabilities. It was presented through three storyboards that each depicted a different phase, starting from the initial outbreak beginning in Southeast Asia; flu arriving in the US and on the UW campus; and recovering from the pandemic. The purpose of the storyboards was to provide context for the exercise scenario in terms of time, place, and status of the outbreak.

The exercise was designed to address specific exercise objectives and to actively engage all players in group discussion. Each storyboard contained "messages" that required a decision or proposed course of action. If needed, the players could request assistance or information from the resources, which included representatives from the local health department (Public Health - Seattle and King County) and various UW offices, including Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Campus Police, Media Relations, and the UW Medical Center. The responses were intended to stimulate group discussion regarding gaps in polices or plans, inconsistencies or uncertainty about roles or responsibilities, capacity issues (such as assets or limitations in personnel and equipment), and communication and coordination within and outside of the University. The exercise concluded with a debriefing session open to players, resources, and observers. A NWCPHP team drafted the After Action Report and Improvement Plan based on findings from the exercise and this draft report is currently being reviewed by the SPH leadership.

STORY TO SHARE?

We love public health stories! We feature them in our postcard series, Spotlight on the Field, and news items. Please contact us to share your story!