To ensure that U.S. healthcare providers and facilities are prepared to safely identify, isolate, transport, and treat patients with Ebola and other emerging threats, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a National Ebola Training and Education Center.
A collaborative effort among HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and three academic institutions, the program supports further training of health care providers and facilities on strategies to manage Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases.
Through the effort, ASPR and CDC will provide $12 million over the next five years to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska; and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, New York, which together will co-lead the National Ebola Training and Education Center.
“The National Ebola Training and Education Center contributes to our nation’s health security by developing and teaching evidence-based practices of experienced providers and health care institutions in caring for patients with Ebola and other serious infectious diseases,” says Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “While this training starts with Ebola, it also will help the health care community deal with other serious infectious diseases in the future.”
Emory University and Nebraska Medical Center have been working with CDC since December to train more than 460 health care workers from 87 health care systems, including 37 designated Ebola treatment centers, on all aspects of infection control and patient care for individuals with Ebola. Emory University and Nebraska Medical Center are offering additional training opportunities this summer for up to 400 staff from Ebola assessment hospitals.
The new National Ebola Training and Education Center will expand on the success of this initial work and offer state health departments and health care facilities additional access to the clinical expertise and training capabilities offered by these institutions.
“The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa is proof that a threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere; the United States must continue to prepare,” says CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Hospitals are often the first place where a new disease threat is recognized. This new center will help our hospitals and healthcare workers prepare to handle new threats and safely care for patients.”
HHS recently announced nine regional Ebola treatment centers that are part of a national network of 55 Ebola treatment centers, but will have enhanced capabilities to treat a patient with confirmed Ebola or other highly virulent disease. Ebola treatment centers are staffed, equipped and have been assessed to have current capabilities, training and resources to provide the complex treatment necessary to care for a person with Ebola while minimizing risk to health care workers.