While the population in general is not fully out of the woods when it comes to H1N1, University of the Sciences has established a strong foundation to combat the virus through education and awareness, personal health hygiene, and vaccinations.
“As a healthcare institution, we are hypersensitive when it comes to personal health. We’ve worked to remind our students, faculty, and staff through e-mails and posters to not only take precautions, but to take care of themselves when it comes to H1N1 or the normal seasonal flu,” said Dr. William G. Cunningham, dean of students. “To underline our seriousness and in a sign of the times, we’ve installed numerous hand sanitizers in key buildings throughout campus.”
In May 2008, when the talk of pending pandemic surfaced, the University assembled a broad-based team of faculty with expertise in epidemiology, and members from Student Affairs, the Student and Health Counseling Center (SHAC), Academic Affairs (particularly Public Health), facilities, HR, marketing, and security as a Pandemic Preparedness Team to put together a strategic response plan.
“As the liaison between the University and the city and state, I’m getting the latest information first hand and disseminating it quickly to the team,” said Ben Gollotti, chief security officer. “One of the benefits at University of the Sciences is that we have faculty trained to help administer the vaccine to the campus population which will speed up distribution and the time frame.”
In two fall clinics, the University provided 1,100 individuals in the CDC at-risk groups with the opportunity to receive the vaccine. The H1N1 vaccination programs marshaled the resources of trained faculty from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy who administered the shots. Student volunteers were also crucial to the success of the event through their promotional efforts to encourage their peers to receive the vaccine as well as their assistance on-site.
“In addition to our faculty and staff efforts, we are also engaging our students to be proactive,” said Dr. Paul Furtaw, director of SHAC.
Additionally, student members of the American Pharmacists Association and a panel of faculty experts provided a Swine Flu information session for the local community and also distributed informational pamphlets on the Swine Flu in conjunction with the Clark Park Farmer’s Market.
To date, the University has taken numerous steps to keep our community as healthy as possible:
· The University published and is following best practice guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and the PDPHDDC.
· Hand sanitizer stations have been placed in key high traffic areas around campus to support good health hygiene.
· In addition to H1N1 vaccinations, the University hosted a seasonal flu vaccination program for all students, faculty, and staff.
· University officials and clinicians continue to work closely with the PDPHDDC in regard to H1N1 vaccination planning.
For additional information, the University of the Sciences Pandemic Preparedness Team recommends that you visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov, or the University’s Emergency Information Website at http://www.emergency.usp.edu.