University of Nebraska Medical Center


The Region VII Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC) is located within University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine. As the RESPTC for the Region VII area, the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit is prepared to care for patients with highly hazardous communicable infectious diseases and has committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise by providing educational offerings. The education is delivered in multiple formats such as courses, webinars, videos, and zoom conversations with experts on relevant topics.



NBU | R7DHRE | RESPTC Zoomcasts 


 About the NBU


The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU), a collaborative project between Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was dedicated in 2005. As a result of federal funding aimed at infectious disease preparedness, the NBU was established to provide safe treatment and care for patients infected with special pathogens. Dr. Julie Gerberding, then Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dedicated the unit.

In 2015, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (formerly Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response), or ASPR and the CDC established the Regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Centers (RESPTC) network to enhance the nation's capability to provide safe care for patients infected with special pathogens. The NBU was selected as one of ten health departments and associated partner hospitals to become special regional treatment centers for patients with Ebola or other severe, highly infectious diseases. Serving as the RESPTC for HHS Region VII, the NBU team has prepared, trained, and drilled for over 18 years to establish safe strategies for caring for patients with special pathogen illnesses. Even during periods when the NBU is not actively caring for such patients, the team maintains operational readiness.

The NBU is designed for safe and effective treatment of patients infected with highly hazardous communicable diseases (e.g., viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola virus disease and Lassa fever, smallpox, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [MERS]), whether acquired in a laboratory accident, as a natural occurring infection, or in a bioterrorism attack. 

This 10-bed unit cared for three patients infected with Ebola during the 2014 outbreak, as well as COVID-19 patients in 2020. The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit features negative-air flow with a HEPA air filtration system, a pressurized entrance and decontamination autoclaves to ensure security and safety for both staff and community. The NBU has an on-site lab, and is in close proximity to the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory. It was one of three go-to sites nationwide for the U.S. Department of State in 2014. 

The NBU team is an all-volunteer, interdisciplinary group that has been hailed internationally for its bravery and professionalism. When, in 2014, many were fearful of treating patients with Ebola, this team relied on its specialized training while setting the global standard in best practices for dealing with high-consequence infections. President Barack Obama praised the team for delivering “world-class care.” The team continues its ongoing training regimen.

NBU Core Features

  • Five double-occupancy rooms.
  • In-unit mobile satellite BSL-3 laboratory for clinical and special pathogen analysis.
  • Audio Visual Equipment enables two-way communications and staff observation.
  • Two effluent passthrough autoclaves for Category A waste inactivation.
  • Gradient negative pressure and dual-fan redundancy.
  • HEPA filtered exhaust air.
  • Established workflows address pathogen transmission modes.
  • Enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with safe donning and doffing processes.

We hope you will find these offerings interesting and use them to enhance your own preparedness. If you have any education-related topic suggestions, questions, or need any assistance, please email the RESPTC at nbu@nebraskamed.com

Region VII Disaster Health Response Ecosystem (R7DHRE)

The R7DHRE is a flexible, self-organizing project that provides a grassroots readiness network during disasters. Its' Biological Specialty Team is available to support Region VII through the Region VII Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC), the National Emerging Special Pathogen Training & Education Center (NETEC), and the UNMC Global Center for Health Security.

RESPTC Zoomcasts

Perils & Pearls -Lessons Learned from COVID-19 & Training Videos

Long Covid Dr. Dan Anderson and Dr. Carrie Hoarty discuss the effects of long COVID
Monkeypox Please join infectious diseases experts, Dr. Agam Rao and Dr. David Brett-Major as they provide up-to-date information on Monkeypox and how we can mitigate the spread.  
Back to School Public health and medical personnel discuss the topic of COVID-19 and kids returning to school.
COVID-19 Variants Dr. Angela Hewlett and Dr. Baha Abdalhamid have a candid discussion to help us better understand COVID variants and how they develop. 
Vaccine Facts Join us for the latest news regarding COVID vaccines including information on the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines. Dr. James Lawler, Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and an Executive Director of the Global Center for Health Security, and Dr. Nada Fadul, Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Associate Medical Director of the Specialty Care Center, will help clarify the most recent facts, news, and advice on how to safely proceed.
EMS & the Pandemic The EMS Team is an important first line defense against the pandemic. EMS bravely walks into unknown situations to provide care for others. Join Jackson Gruber, Regional Special Pathogens Program Coordinator, as he interviews Omaha Captain Ben Tysor, Firefighter Eric Hallagan, Assistant Chief Kathy Bossman, and Paramedic Shift Supervisor Wendee Brown as they tell their story related to the COVID pandemic.
Traveling During A Pandemic As COVID-19 restrictions lift in some areas and people begin to travel, there are many unanswered questions. Listen in as we visit with an expert from the travel industry and get answers concerning restrictions, precautions, testing, and the best places to travel during the pandemic.  
Vaccinations (In Spanish) Armando De Alba Rosales, MD MPH, Assistant Professor, UNMC, and Victoria Shradar discuss the COVID-19 vaccines--including the benefits and risks, who should get the vaccine, and special concerns regarding specific populations. This entire zoomcast is provided in Spanish. 
Breaking the COVID Chain Dr. Bob Rauner, Chief Medical Officer of One Health Nebraska ACO, President of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, and member of the Lincoln Public School Board of Directors and Nebraska Association of School Boards, discusses the chain of infection and preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Dr. Rauner's vast and varied experiences provide him with valuable insight into the pandemic. 
Managing the Pandemic How does an institution manage staff and patients during a pandemic?  Michelle Schwedhelm, Executive Director of Emergency Management and Biopreparedness, Nebraska Medicine, interviews experts from Barnes Jewish, St. Louis, about their valuable experiences, key takeaways, and lessons learned that helped them provide excellent patient care during the pandemic.  Also joining the discussion:  Emma Hooks, Director, Environmental Health and Safety & Regulatory Compliance; Jason Campbell, Manager, Emergency Management & Continuity; Dr. Stephen Liang, Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disesases; and Maggie Cullather, Interim Emerging Infectious Disease Program Manager, Consultant.
Sports in a Pandemic Angie Vasa interviews Chris Kratochvil, MD, UNMC Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and GCHS Executive Director of Clinical Research, and Morgan Shradar, RN, Health Manager, about the benefits of continuing youth/college sports, what teams are doing to keep athletes safe, and how teams are following safety restrictions.
Long Term Care Facilities  Dr. Salmon Ashraf, MBBS, Medical Director of Nebraska Infection Control Assessment and Promotion program (ICAP), and Kate Tyner, BSN, RN, CIC, Nurse Coordinator at Nebraska ICAP visit with us about the Nebraska ICAP and ASAP programs and how they are assisting long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 response.
Home for the Holidays Please join Dr. James Lawler, Associate Professor in the department of internal medicine and an Executive Director of the Global Center for Health Security, and Dr. David Cates, the Behavioral Consultant to the Nebraska Medicine Biocontainment Unit and the National Quarantine Center while they discuss holiday celebration restrictions during the pandemic, how to handle the emotional ramifications of the restrictions, and thinking about what we can do versus what we cannot.
Home for the Holidays-College Student Experience College Students have a unique perspective of the Covid pandemic. Listen as Isabella and Victoria Shrader share their college experiences and how they are planning on managing their holiday break. 
COVID-19 Vaccination Dr. David Brett-Major, Nebraska Medicine and Infectious Diseases physician, will discuss the COVID-19 vaccination and its implications for public health.  Dr. Brett Major is known globally for his expertise in emerging infectious diseases.
Training Video: Handwashing Morgan Shradar, RN and Nursing Professional Development Specialist, Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, covers the "ins and outs" of how to best wash your hands and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Training Video: Masks Masks are essential for stopping the spread of COVID-19.  We have all seen many types of masks and a wide variety of how people wear masks. Kate Boulter, MPH, BAN (HONS), RN, Nebraska Medicine, shares the proper way to wear a mask and the science behind it.