The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded a $1.3 million grant to the Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington. The grant will be used to develop training for non-health workers who might be exposed to Ebola and other serious diseases.
The project is called the Biosafety and Infectious Disease Training Initiative. IU says it aims to provide hands-on training on health, environmental infection control and safety for non-health workers.
"Most training resources have gone to those providing direct patient care," said Shawn Gibbs, executive associate dean for academic affairs at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. "This grant will add a whole other level of training for those responsible for aspects of response to highly infectious disease, who are not involved in direct patient care."
Examples of non-health workers who would benefit from the training include those who are responsible for preventing, deterring or responding to biohazards, including emergency medical technicians and law enforcement. IU says the training would also benefit any worker who is responsible for the disposal, clean-up and remediation of biohazardous materials, along with those who work in mortuaries or laboratories that receive potentially infectious materials.
"This funding will really strengthen the capabilities of these industrial sectors to respond to a wide variety of highly infectious disease events," said John Lowe assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "We hope to give them the support and the resources needed to successfully protect their workers."
The project is a collaboration among IU, the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dillard University.