Three epidemics (SARS in 2003, pandemic influenza in 2009, and Ebola in 2014) have tested our national preparedness for infectious disease emergencies, revealing both strengths and weaknesses. Identified weaknesses have highlighted the need for a national network of training consortium to ensure up-to-date, high quality, effective and efficient delivery of biosafety and infectious disease worker training. In response to the anthrax attacks of 2001, the NIAID/NIH funded construction of a network of Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBLs) with a mandate to support local and national responses to infectious disease emergencies. RBLs were strategically constructed at major academic medical centers and provide a nexus of training and outreach to healthcare and non-healthcare workers in their respective geographical catchment areas. The RBL at Duke University Medical Center was the first of the 12 RBLs to be fully commissioned in 2007 and has a comprehensive biosafety and infectious disease preparedness training program with an emphasis on CDC/NIAID Category A, B and C priority pathogens for multiple worker populations. In 2014 the RBL at Duke training team was activated to develop an Ebola treatment unit at Duke University Hospital, develop a care network for an Ebola suspect patient, and train custodial and healthcare workers. Consistent with the overall goal of the NIEHS worker training program we propose to use a subset of the NIAID-RBLs (Duke, Colorado State, U. Chicago, George. Mason U., and U. Louisville) to establish a multistate partnership to provide training in occupational settings that carry the potential for increased exposure to contaminated materials or infected individuals. We call this program Duke Infectious Disease Response Training (DIDRT). We will achieve this goal by accomplishing the following three Specific Aims: 1) Develop a multistate consortium of biosafety professionals within the NIAID RBL network to provide comprehensive infectious disease response training; 2) Train worker populations (first responders, custodial service, travel/Air transport, and healthcare/clinical lab) with important roles in infectious disease response; and 3) Evaluate the efficacy of preparedness training, incorporating the results in a continuous quality improvement cycle. The DIDRT consortium is uniquely qualified to achieve these three Aims. Our five-state consortium includes key leaders in the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA), including two former ABSA presidents (Hunt and Ellis), three former/current ABSA board members (Hunt, Alderman and Ellis), five Certified Biological Safety Professionals (Hunt, Frothingham Alderman, Ellis and Blair), and five Registered Biosafety Professionals (Burch, Blair, Zobel, Bivona, Quenee). Our RBL consortium members provide regular biosafety training (over 110,000 in the past five years) in formats ranging from short online modules to five-day courses. The collective knowledge of our team and th e strategic geographic locations of the DIDRT consortium members will enable the development of a truly nationwide program capable of meeting the needs of the NIEHS WTP.
The Duke Infectious Disease Response Training (DIDRT) Consortium will identify and train multiple worker populations who may be at risk during infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola. Training will be conducted through a five-state network of four satellite training sites and the Duke University. The satellite training sites are strategically located in NIAID-constructed Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBLs) and were selected based on their established track record of excellence in biosafety and preparedness training. Training will provide heathcare and non-healthcare worker populations with the understanding of risks of infection and how best to protect themselves and others from infection based on their specific work environment and risks. In combining the RBL's intellectual capital and facilities with their network of outreach connections to worker populations, we have developed a truly nationwide training program capable of meeting the needs of the NIEHS WTP.