Panel of Experts Answers Key Questions About Ebola

The interprofessional panel of speakers included (from left to right) Dr. Benny Joyner, Dr. Carol Durham (back), Dr. William Fischer, Dr. Rumay Alexander, and Mr. Dalton Sawyer. Dr. Mary Tonges (not pictured) and Dr. Donna Havens (not pictured) also gave remarks.

On November 17, experts from the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and UNC Health Care came together to discuss the realities of the Ebola crisis in Africa and how health care workers in the United States are preparing to care for people who contract the virus.

During the first half of the town-hall style event, the panelists shared their own experiences and observations on the Ebola crisis. Then they switched gears to answer questions from the audience. Students, faculty, and other members of the community peppered the panelists with questions about everything from the technical details of how the Ebola virus survives to broader inquiries about the steps policymakers are taking to screen and monitor individuals returning from affected parts of Africa.

One strong theme of the evening was the focus the Ebola crisis has put on interprofessional collaboration. The high degree of teamwork required to safely care for individuals with Ebola has led many health care providers to examine how they collaborate with each other. “This work will never be for naught,” said clinical professor Carol Durham, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, who organized the event. “Because the lessons we have learned from designing an interprofessional simulation for a high-risk, complex patient care environment have prepared us to face future crises with enhanced communication and collaboration.”

For the full story and links to additional resources on Ebola, visit the SON website.