Training, Simulation & Quarantine Center now open at med center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Training, Simulation & Quarantine Center (TSQC), part of the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC, is now open on the UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center campus.

The Global Center for Health Security is the umbrella encompassing biopreparedness, infectious diseases and high-consequence infections research, education and clinical care at UNMC and its primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine. The TSQC is located on the ground floor of the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center.

“This is a proud day for the med center,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “The TSQC will allow UNMC and Nebraska Medicine to continue to take the lead in both treating and educating others to treat highly infectious diseases. We will be positioned not only to monitor and care for persons who have received a high-risk exposure to a highly infectious disease, but to use the most up-to-date technology to develop training protocols to ensure others can do so, as well.”

“The Global Center for Health Security builds on Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s tradition of biopreparedness training, research and patient care,” said Jim Linder, M.D., CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “People all over the world know of the internationally-acclaimed Nebraska Biocontainment Unit team, which set the global gold standard for safely treating special pathogens during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. With the opening of the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center, we will prepare the nation’s health systems for the next pandemic.”

The TSQC will provide a centralized location for Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s already accomplished quarantine efforts. In late 2014 and early 2015, individuals were monitored both on and off campus after possible Ebola exposures in west Africa. Then again in late 2018 and early 2019, an American doctor came here for monitoring after a possible Ebola exposure in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Global Center for Health Security team has been working on varying activities such as education and training to prepare for the coronavirus and this center could play a role in the response to the global coronavirus if quarantine capability is needed.

It is the first unit to open in the Davis Global Center, which serves as the home for iEXCEL, a transformative model for health care education, training and research that incorporates a wide range of simulation and visualization technologies. The Davis Global Center’s official dedication will take place later this spring.

Through its Hospital Preparedness Program, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded UNMC $19.8 million to establish the TSQC within the Global Center for Health Security. The 20-bed quarantine center will be the only designated federal quarantine center in the country, serving as a resource for the federal government and other collaborators.

“The partnership we’ve developed with UNMC and Nebraska Medicine is integral to our mission of saving lives and protecting Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D. “This new facility is an important resource for the nation’s preparedness in infectious disease response. It will take our federal training efforts to the next level and will help fulfill a critical need for quarantine capability.”

The TSCQ is a highly specialized unit housed on the ground floor of the Davis Global Center. This close proximity with iEXCEL was purposefully planned in order that the two entities could work synergistically — leveraging their mutual strengths, expertise, and simulation technologies to provide additional value and exceptional training outcomes.

The leadership team of the Global Center for Health Security includes Chris Kratochvil, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical research at UNMC; John-Martin Lowe, Ph.D., assistant vice chancellor for interprofessional health security at UNMC; Shelly Schwedhelm, executive director of emergency preparedness and clinical operations for Nebraska Medicine; James Lawler, M.D., executive director of international programs and innovation at the Global Center for Health Security; and Ken Bayles, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for basic science research at UNMC. Wael ElRayes, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D., FACHE is the project manager for the TSQC and the Middle East and North Africa region director at the Global Center for Health Security

“The idea for (the Global Center for Health Security) really came about because we had a number of initiatives on campus,” Dr. Kratochvil said, pointing to The National Ebola Training Education Center and the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. “We realized we needed a central hub to help organize and host the number of activities going on. It was clear that this was a tremendous opportunity.”

The TSQC, Dr. Kratochvil said, will be a national resource and a key component of the Global Center for Health Security.

“It is critically important that we serve the needs of the state, the country and the world, because if we look at biosecurity, global health, it’s a tremendous issue that is unmet,” Dr. Kratochvil said. “It’s also an issue that has to be addressed critically, systematically and collaboratively.”

It also provides training for federal employees and features collaboration spaces, a specially designed biocontainment simulation training center with prebriefing and debriefing capabilities, an austere tent environment and observation units. Highly advanced virtual reality technology, including interactive digital walls, 3D CAD walls, immersive environments and expanded simulation spaces will be accessible and readily available throughout the Davis Global Center once iEXCEL is also open for training in April 2020.

In addition to the advanced training and simulation features, the TSQC will offer a comprehensive infectious disease training program developed by key subject matter experts, scientists and educators. This training program will be responsive to the training needs of U.S. government health care workers responding to infectious disease threats in both resource-rich domestic settings as well as austere international environments.

“By having the TSQC, we’ll be able to systematically help support the federal government and other agencies that need to quarantine individuals with high-risk exposures,” Dr. Kratochvil said. “Up until now, it’s been much more of an ad hoc approach, but here we’ll have a fixed, purpose-built facility to help support the federal government and to help maintain safety for the individuals as well as the communities.”

Dr. Kratochvil said establishing the Global Center for Health Security is incredibly exciting for UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.

“This is a partnership across our academic health center, but also across the country,” he said. “Working together, there are amazing things we can do.”

z j U

1 comment

  1. Paula Turpen says:

    Great news! Congratulations!

Comments are closed.