Classroom without Walls


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"...On 29 September 2006, Eric Noji (Stanford, 1977) delivered a lecture on the public health consequences of disasters, at the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus. However, this wasn't an ordinary lecture delivered to a packed auditorium of scholars and students. Eric’s lecture was Webcast around the world. It was expected to reach more than 1.5 million viewers, the largest academic lecture in history. Instead they had more than 3 million! Unfortunately, this exceeded the number of global access portals the university and its 12 global telecommunication partners had anticipated. Internet pioneer Vint Cerf (Stanford, 1965), was at Eric’s lecture and managed to wirelessly contact several friends around the world who opened up enough additional access points to allow another 50,000 viewers to log on—just 10 minutes late..."
- Stanford Magazine, JULY/AUGUST 2007

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Classroom without Walls

  1. 1. Feature Storyfeature story Classroom without Borders “This single GSPH Live webcast of Cutler Memorial Lecture reaches thousands lecture could reach as Eric K. Noji, MD, MPH, laughs as he describes the evolution of his career from emergency physician to senior policy advisor for health and many as a million, national security at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “My whole career has been a disaster,” he says jovially. Indeed, making it the largest it was his expertise in disaster preparedness and epidemiology that drew a record audience for GSPH’s John C. Cutler Annual Global Health classroom ever.” Lecture on September 29, 2005. Noji’s presentation, “The Public Health Consequences of Disaster: Challenges for Public Health Action,” could not have been more timely. In a year that began with rescue and relief efforts following the Asian tsunami, the lecture came fast on the heels of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The local turnout was twice the usual size. Even so, most of the members of this audience weren’t elbow to elbow in the GSPH auditorium. They were actually scattered around the world. GSPH Professor of Epidemiology Ronald LaPorte had arranged and publicized a groundbreaking, live internet webcast of the Cutler lecture. LaPorte had already pioneered the Supercourse, a powerhouse Internet library of more than 2000 public health lectures ( Now he applied what he calls the Supercourse’s “network of networks” to create a live global classroom. When Noji delivered his speech, he could be heard simultaneously in as many as 150 countries. More than 300 organizations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, received a live 2 Spring 2006
  2. 2. Classroom without Bordersfeed of the lecture from Pitt and thenredistributed it on their own networks.With 300 simultaneous links and Public Health Lectures on Demandthe possibility of multiple viewers ateach link, it’s likely that the lecture thousands of public healthprofessionals and students aroundthe world. Viewers who were not able to access the Cutler lecture live on the Pitt Mediasite website took the opportunity to download other lecturesIn delivering the Cutler lecture, Eric from the archives. Here are some of the most heavily viewed lecturesNoji addressed the state-of-the-art in on the day of the Cutler lecture:disaster preparedness as well as therole of the epidemiologist, drawing • 2005 Thomas Parran Lecture:on his considerable experience with “Achieving the Promise of Public Health”natural and technological disasters, Noreen M. Clark, PhDterrorism, violent civil conflict, war,and humanitarian emergencies. “Now • Distance Learning Interactive TV Workshop:is the time that we need to apply “The Use of ‘Community-based Participatory’ Strategies to Addresslessons learned,” Noji says. “Schools Issues of Health Disparities.”of public health are rarely able to Stephen B. Thomas, PhD; Robert M. Goodman, PhDconduct detailed investigations ofrisk factors for injuries, deaths, andcommunicable diseases or long-term • The Jay L. Foster Memorial Lecture Series in Alzheimer’s Disease:follow-up studies related to mental “Frontotemporal Dementia”health and chronic diseases. We’ve got Bruce L. Miller, MDto do a much better job of disasterresearch if we are going to be able to • Global HIV Prevention:develop strategies to prevent or Where Have We Been, Where Are We Goingreduce morbidity and mortality from Sten Vermund, MD, PhDdisasters or improve the quality ofdisaster preparedness. In other words, • Health Care Workforce Availability During Catastrophic Disasterswe have a ways to go to make disaster Kristine Qureshi, RN, DNScresearch a respected academic fieldof study.” • Genes for Common Diseases Association Studies Aravinda Chakravarti, PhD • Biological Warfare Bioterrorism Preparedness Operations William Smith • Jay L. Foster Memorial Lecture Series in Alzheimer’s Disease: “Do Genes and Environmental Factors Interact in Alzheimer’s Disease?” Richard Mayeux, MD, MSc • Bioterrorism Emergency Management and the New Public Health Leadership Role of the State and Local Health Departments David Carney, MPH 3 Spring 2006
  3. 3. Feature Story Classroom without Borders With such a wide, international dis- semination, the 2005 Cutler lecture may go a long way in getting Noji’s message out. Feedback on the lecture has been received from students, researchers, and public health practi- tioners in the U.S. and around the world. For instance, Ron LaPorte reports that colleagues in Tehran gathered for a 2 a.m. party to watch the live webcast. A preventive medi- cine specialist currently stationed in Peru emailed Noji: “Here in Lima your talk gave me the opportunity to gather the different people at the Ministry of Health (General Epidemiology Office and Civil Defense Office), Social Security sys- tem (ESSALUD), USAID, Peruvian Red Cross, academia (San Marcos University), OXFAM International, Peruvian Society for Emergency and Disaster Medicine.... We created a good forum for future events.” World-wide Distribution of the 2005 The 2005 Cutler lecture is available in multiple formats online through John C. Cutler Lecture in Global Health the GSPH archive of lectures: cialevents/cutler2005/webcast.html. Noji’s PowerPoint presentation can be viewed on the Supercourse website. Argentina Hong Kong Puerto Rico LaPorte reports that through the Australia India Russia Supercourse, Noji’s lecture was Belgium Iran Saudi Arabia distributed in advance to 30,000 Brazil Iraq Serbia locations. He estimates when all is Canada Israel South Africa said and done, this single GSPH Chile Japan South Korea lecture could reach as many as a China Kenya Spain million, making it the largest Colombia Lithuania Sweden classroom ever. Costa Rica Mexico Switzerland Technology for the webcast was developed by Cyprus Morocco Taiwan Sonic Foundry, which provides web-based com- Denmark Netherlands Thailand munications services and solutions to colleges Ecuador New Zealand United Arab and universities. Their Mediasite™ technology enables educational institutions to easily create Egypt Nigeria Emirates and distribute web presentations that include England Pakistan United States fully integrated audio and video. Germany Peru Guam Philippines4 Spring 2006
  4. 4. Disaster CertificateCertificate Program Provides Training in Disaster ResponseGSPH currently offers three certificate • Issues in Bioterrorism • Community Disaster Educationprograms, with three more to be launched Coordinator • Emergency Management and Disasterin fall 2006. In the wake of natural Response • Emergency Preparedness Health Plannerdisasters like the Asian Tsunami andHurricane Katrina, a popular certificate • Environmental Health and Occupational For more information about this andprogram is the “Certificate in Public Health Health Preparedness other certificate programs, visitPreparedness and Disaster Response.” • Evaluation of Emergency Response or • Risk Communications contact Student Affairs at 412-624-3002.This 15-credit certificate seeks to improvethe preparedness of local health units by • Mental Health Issues of Disasterstraining public health professionals tolead public health and other agencies in Although there is no definite timeline yet, Other GSPH Certificate Programspreparedness activities, such as developing there is a plan to offer the entire certificateand implementing crisis communications program online. Tuition scholarships from • Environmental Risk Assessmentactivities, conducting emergency surveil- the CDC are also available. Graduates of • Global Healthlance, and evaluating the effectiveness of the certificate program work in positionsemergency response systems. such as: • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health and Wellness • Bioterrorism Preparedness ProgramThe learning objectives for this program • Minority Health and Health Coordinatorare based on priority areas identified by Disparities Researchthe Centers for Disease Control and • Emergency Management AnalystPrevention (CDC). Courses include: • Domestic Preparedness Coordinator • Public Health GeneticsNew GSPH Dean GSPH Names New Permanent Dean Donald S. Burke, MD, has been selected as GSPH’s new dean. Dr. Burke is an internationally renowned expert in the prevention, diagnosis, and control of infectious diseases of global concern, including HIV/AIDS and avian flu. Dr. Burke comes to GSPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he is professor of international health and epidemiology, associate chair for disease prevention and control in the Department of International Health, and director of the Center for Immunization Research. Donald S. Burke < In addition to serving as the GSPH dean, he also will direct the University of Pittsburgh’s new Center for Vaccine Research; serve as associate vice chancellor for Look for a more global health, a newly created position within the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor complete article and for the Health Sciences; and become the first occupant of the UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair introduction to in Global Health. He begins his new duties July 1. Dr. Burke in the Fall 2006 issue of Dr. Burke will be the University of Pittsburgh’s seventh GSPH dean, replacing PublicHealth magazine. Bernard Goldstein, MD, who retired as dean at the end of 2005 but remains a faculty member in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. Roberta Ness, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Epidemiology, has served as interim dean since December 1 of last year. 5 Spring 2006