Student Pandemic Simulation
Every fall the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs holds an annual pandemic policy summit, which brings together pandemic preparedness and biosecurity experts from all over the world. In conjunction with the Summit, a student pandemic simulation is held. This simulation provides graduate students from across Texas A&M University the opportunity to respond to a simulated outbreak as it unfolds. The primary purpose of the simulation is to teach students about the challenges of pandemic response and to give them experience working with individuals from different areas of expertise. Following the simulation students have the option to volunteer to participate in writing a white paper about lessons learned.
OUTBREAK: A One Health Field Investigation
Every summer Texas A&M University graduate, veterinary, public health, and medical students join similar students from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB) and the University of Texas—Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV) for a three-week experiential course. Students travel throughout the state of Texas and must work together in learning how to address complex problems facing humans, animals, and the environment. This course is designed and implemented through a collaborative effort between individuals at UTMB, UT-RGV, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University.
Student Perspective Article
Unique High-Impact Learning Experiences
As a part of our Bush School courses, we incorporate high-impact learning experiences that are designed for each unique set of students. In the fall of 2019, as a part of the course, Infectious Diseases in the Developing World, we held a simulation demonstrating the vulnerability of IDPs/refugees to disease both in their migration to camps and once they get to a camp. There were checkpoints/task areas where students were given information about the disease they were exposed to and if they became infected. Students had to make decisions based on the information they were given and their interactions with simulated rebel groups. The simulation was held a local Texas ranch.
The Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program has partnered with the City of Brownsville Department of Public Health to address a wide variety of border health issues. Numerous undergraduate and graduate students from both the College Station and McAllen campuses have come together from more than 5 disciplines. They work in interdisciplinary teams alongside public health officials in Brownsville, Texas to analyze challenges from vector-control to Chagas awareness to environmental health hazards along the US-Mexico border.
In May 2020, the Texas A&M team compiled two reports for the Brownsville Department of Health. The first is on how the Brownsville Animal Shelter could transition into a No-Kill Shelter, addressing the issues of community and animal health, financial feasibility, and shelter capacity. The second report details the ecological impact of illegal dumping in Brownsville, with focuses on tires and single-use plastics. Both reports can be accessed here.