Using an H1N1 vaccination drive-through to introduce healthcare students and their faculty to disaster medicine

Am J Disaster Med. 2010 Mar-Apr;5(2):129-36. doi: 10.5055/ajdm.2010.0015.


Currently, the H1N1 pandemic does not approach the worst-case scenarios that have been predicted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Nevertheless, its impact, fueled by its predilection for nontraditional victims, assorted governmental miscalculations, and journalistic hyperbole, has led to an environment of both fear and skepticism. In this environment, the healthcare infrastructure must sift through relevant data, set aside political rhetoric, weigh the risk-benefit ratio of health-related mandates and recommendations, interact with diverse agencies and departments, and still attend to the medical, psychological, and educational needs of its patients and the community at large. Despite the challenges presented by the H1N1 pandemic, there is also an opportunity for expanded interdisciplinary education. Recent and past events, here and abroad, have demonstrated that in times of great healthcare need, professional students, through either volunteerism or impressments, have been an important asset in disaster medicine and mass gatherings. The current H1N1 situation affords healthcare educators an opportunity to expose the current generation of students to disaster medicine and management of care for aggregates and populations. This educational motive is reinforced by the students' own altruistic desire to not only volunteer in a pandemic but also to act on the belief that it is their obligation. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to describe the preparedness and response roles of healthcare students and their faculty at a major university during the H1N1 crisis as an introduction to the interdisciplinary approach to disaster medicine and mass gatherings.

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles
  • Disaster Medicine / education*
  • Disaster Planning
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Education, Medical / trends
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Public Health / education*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Workforce


  • Influenza Vaccines