New UAlbany Course Tackles Public Health Emergencies
Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 11, 2004) -- The Center for
Public Health Preparedness at the University at
Albany School of Public Health and the School
of Education have collaborated to create "Emergency
Preparedness in Schools: Prevention, Response,
and Recovery," a course to train educators
and public health professionals to manage disasters
The interdisciplinary course, offered for the
first time in summer 2004, was in part developed
to respond to concerns over terrorism threats
to schools, as well as the rising concern among
parents and educators over one of the nation's
most shocking scenarios: students with weapons.
It will cover such topics as legal and ethical
issues in emergency preparedness and response,
diseases and bioterrorism, natural and industrial
disasters, creation of safe and healthy classrooms
and schools, and development of comprehensive
school crisis plans. It will also cover the specific
psychosocial crises of violence and child abuse.
"I am thrilled that UAlbany's School of
Public Health and the School of Education are
working together on this important project,"
said Nancy Persily, associate dean in the School
of Public Health. "The schools at Ground
Zero were confronted with many challenges on September
11 and afterwards. We saw then that preparing
administration and teachers adequately for a whole
host of crises should be a top priority. And just
recently, we saw a crisis in our own community
at Columbia High School. It just reinforces the
fact that our two schools should work together
to respond to these events."
Due to the inherent interdisciplinary nature
of public health, a 2002 report from the Institute
of Medicine urged the nation's schools of public
health to strengthen interaction with other professional
schools on campus. The collaboration between UAlbany's
schools of public health and education represents
a unique alliance focused on combating mounting
public health fears in primary and secondary schools.
The graduate level course, conceived after the
two schools conducted needs assessments, was developed
by a planning group of teachers, school administrators,
state education officials, state emergency management
professionals, and faculty from the schools of
education and public health, with input from UAlbany's
School of Criminal Justice.
"This new course is designed to help schools
meet a multi-faceted problem that can only be
solved by tapping a variety of expertise,"
said Susan Phillips, dean of the School of Education.
"Developing the course has been a rich and
rewarding collaboration for our faculty, and we
are pleased to be able to join our colleagues
in the School of Public Health in helping to address
a need of our local communities."
"Emergency Preparedness in Schools: Prevention,
Response, and Recovery" is a graduate level
course open to school officials, public health
professionals, parents and those interested. Non-matriculating
students may attend the class, which has room
for 30. UAlbany educators will offer it on an
ongoing basis, eventually taking it online to
provide greater accessibility to working teachers
UAlbany's Center for Public Health Preparedness,
one of two such centers in New York State, improves
the capacity of the public health workforce to
respond to current and emerging public health
threats with a focus on bioterrorism and infectious
The course will run June 28-August 6, 2004, and
fulfills the Child Abuse and School Violence Prevention
requirements for New York State certification.
Registration for summer courses at the University
at Albany begins on March 30, 2004. For questions
regarding course registration, call (518) 442-5052.