Gordon Center Conducts Terrorism-Response Training for Miller School Students

Delivering emergency care to victims of a terrorist attack is a challenging task, especially if chemical or biological weapons are involved. To help University of Miami Miller School of Medicine students gain a firsthand understanding of that experience, the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education recently completed a training program called Personal Protective Equipment/Emergency Response to Terrorism.

Fifty second-year M.D./M.P.H. students took part in the May 24 training session, according to Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of emergency medicine, Director of the Division of Prehospital & Emergency Healthcare at the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, and Director of Simulation Education in the UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program.

“This module is part of our overall disaster response curriculum,” said Motola. “Students participated in simulations of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive attack.”

As part of that training, the students practiced putting on Level C personal protective equipment – airtight suits with gloves and masks – and delivering emergency care to attack victims.

“They learned about delivering antidotes to nerve agents, poisons or biological toxins,” Motola said. “The training also prepares them for how to protect themselves in responding to an outbreak of a deadly virus like Ebola.”

The Gordon Center developed the blended training module, which includes an eight-hour online program with interactive simulation videos and a two-hour practical component.

“This will now be given to Miller School M.D./M.P.H. students annually at the end of their second year,” Motola said.

The M.D./M.P.H. student disaster response curriculum also includes an interactive mass-casualty disaster response exercise that will be conducted this fall in collaboration with the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“Students will be assigned to small groups with different roles, such as hospital physicians or nurses, public health specialists, law enforcement officers or first-responders,” she said. “They make decisions as the disaster unfolds in real time, giving them an opportunity to understand their roles in the big picture, as well as in delivering care to individual victims.”

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