The University of Nebraska System has released the newest episode of its "Leading Nebraska" podcast series, featuring the world-leading work of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Global Center for Health Security. The center brings together the infectious disease research, education and clinical care efforts of UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine.
In the podcast, UNMC Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Chris Kratochvil, M.D., talks about UNMC’s deep expertise in managing infectious disease and the university’s leading role in not only helping the world respond to Covid-19, but preparing for the next pandemic.
"When the pandemic hit, we had a team that we’d developed. We had resources that we’d developed… We had trainings we had developed," Kratochvil, who also serves as the Global Center for Health Security Distinguished Chair, says in the podcast.
"Because we had that preparedness, we were able to quickly step up, leverage our partnerships, leverage our team and respond to the national need."
The Global Center for Health Security includes the National Quarantine Unit, the nation’s only federal quarantine facility, a 20-bed isolation facility that is the primary destination for people possibly exposed to serious infections. Also included is the National Ebola Training and Education Center, a multi-institution network that is helping prepare the nation’s health systems for future pandemics, drawing on UNMC’s leadership during the Ebola crisis of 2014-15. UNMC also houses training and simulation spaces where response teams can prepare for any range of scenarios.
Those kinds of preparedness resources are needed now more than ever, according to UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
"21st-century threats could be anything from biological threats – as we’re dealing with the pandemic right now, as we’ve previously dealt with the Ebola virus – but also chemical, nuclear, explosive and other environmental threats," Gold says in the podcast. "What we’ve learned through our military, and certainly through history, is that preparedness is the name of the game."
The Global Center for Health Security has served as a local and national resource throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing "playbooks" to K-12 schools, universities, businesses and other institutions on how to limit the spread of the virus and re-open safely. UNMC experts have also helped train teams in Nebraska and beyond to help the world prepare for the next global challenge.
"Nebraskans lean forward. And I think that leaning forward is really what makes us unique," Kratochvil says.
"We step up, we take an unmet need like that head-on, and we try to do what’s needed for the greater good."
The NU System’s "Leading Nebraska" podcast shares stories of researchers, students and educators across the four campuses who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. Podcast topics include health care, agriculture, workforce development, cybersecurity, teacher education, national defense and others, featuring experts from UNL, UNO, UNK and UNMC.
Listeners may follow the "Leading Nebraska" podcast here.