SPH Center Builds Open Access Online Portal for Emergency Preparedness Training

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How do we communicate with the public during an emergency? What is the role of public health in mass casualty responses? How can responders protect their own health and safety? How do we provide mental health care during and after a disaster?

Public health professionals will now be able to answer these questions and more, thanks to a new online emergency preparedness training portal developed by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP), the outreach arm of the University of Washington School of Public Health. The portal features more than 400 resources for individuals and teams looking to enhance their emergency preparedness and response skills. All trainings and resources are available at no cost.

“Online training is increasingly seen as a cost-effective way to train staff in core preparedness and response skills but, in many cases, materials are scattered around the web and are hard to find,” said the project’s lead faculty member, Dr. Susan Allan, associate professor emeritus at the School and former director of the NWCPHP. “This new online catalog allows learners to search through hundreds of tested and validated resources in one convenient location.”

The NWCPHP received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to review online learning materials developed by academic institutions across the country, including Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University. These universities, and the UW, each house a CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (PERLC). The portal is called the PERLC Training Catalog.

By simply searching a keyword or filtering by format, topic or critical skills area, users of the catalog can find online courses, informational briefs, exercises, toolkits and guides. Most resources are best suited for users looking to build awareness or begin their education in emergency preparedness and response. 

One notable feature of the PERLC Training Catalog is a set of 21 curated training bundles, which help learners build knowledge related to 15 public health preparedness capabilities highlighted by the CDC, as well as six other key topic areas. The materials included in each bundle have a high degree of interactivity, real-world applications and multimedia elements.

To access the portal, visit http://perlc.nwcphp.org/.