Together with a team I looked at ways of constructing exercises that would provoke participants to use creative decision-making skills and push them to new levels of teamwork and situational awareness.
If an F3 tornado touches down in southwestern Minnesota striking the region’s major hospital, are there enough beds in secondary facilities to handle the patients? Or will mobile medical units need to be dispatched? Who is responsible for such determinations? Who delegates and coordinates efforts in a disaster?
Ethan Forsgren ’11 (Ames, Iowa) helped design disaster scenarios with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. Considering such scenarios ahead of time helps emergency responders prepare for events such as tornados and pandemics.
“Together with a team I looked at ways of constructing exercises that would provoke participants to use creative decision-making skills and push them to new levels of teamwork and situational awareness,” says Forsgren. “Before that happens, we have to get creative—inventing pitfalls and roadblocks to the team’s success while still keeping the situation realistic.” Forsgren’s opportunity was made possible by Macalester’s Taylor Public Health Fellowship.
“The Taylor Public Health Fellowship provides students with a stipend for 9 to 10 weeks of part-time summer work. In consultation with their advisors, students define an area of interest within the broad field of public health and submit their proposal,” says biology professor and Taylor program director Elizabeth Jansen.
The Taylor Public Health fellows—six in 2010—relish the freedom to design their own optimal experience. Mollie Hudson ’12 (Berkeley, California), a certified HIV counselor, split her time between the Berkeley Public Health Clinic and Shirati Hospital in Shirati, Tanzania, where she worked in the HIV/maternal health department.
Masha Kuznetsova ’12 used her fellowship to work in the Volgograd Plague Prevention Institute—the equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control—in her hometown in Russia. She worked with epidemiologic data and policy, particularly as related to cholera and plague. “I had studied various public health approaches to epidemics in the Medical Geography class … but seeing how public health works in real life situations … is a completely different experience.”
The fellowship is open to students in various majors. Forsgren is majoring in biology, Hudson in history, and Kuznetsova in anthropology and psychology. All three are also pursuing a concentration in Community and Global Health.