Public Health Seminar Series:

Improving Executive Decision-Making through Research-Based Science and Simulation by Donna Barbisch, MPH, DHA

Monday, April 11, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Calit2 Auditorium OCW Video Archive
Seminar Abstract

Senior leaders make decisions during disaster with limited knowledge of the impact on morbidity and mortality of populations. Public health emergencies and disasters are considered wicked problems, that is, problems with ambiguous and confounding challenges that often have no clear-cut right or wrong but only better or worse answers. While executive leaders generally desire to lead effectively and improve outcomes, their understanding of best outcomes, public health and disaster decision-making, is lacking. A different approach is required to transfer the knowledge gained in public health and disaster research to assist executive leadership as they are ensconced in the predictable but often rare event. A review of executive decisions during emerging infectious disease outbreaks like the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, Ebola virus disease (EVD), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) demonstrate the challenges to public health and healthcare providers already facing resource-constrained conditions. Executive decisions in past events failed to provide appropriate guidance to manage the emerging crisis. Poorly-informed decision-makers have recommended personal protective equipment unsupported by science; they have inappropriately implemented 21-day quarantines of asymptomatic healthcare workers exposed to EVD patients, tromping on civil liberties while failing to improve outcomes. This presentation will demonstrate a new simulation-based approach to support executive leadership during crisis. It will outline a program that guides the decision making process based on research and best science, integrated with policy, to improve outcomes during disasters and public health emergencies.

Speaker Biography - Donna Barbisch, MPH, DHA

Donna Barbisch, MPH, DHA
Donna Barbisch, MPH, DHA Institute for Simulation & Training, University of Central Florida
Donna Barbisch is a retired Army Major General, Senior Scientist and Strategic Project Lead at the Institute for Training and Simulation, University of Central Florida, and Senior Policy Advisor for the Center for Disaster Medical Sciences at UCI. She was a nurse anesthetist, completing a masters in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in health policy from the Medical University of South Carolina where she focused on the military’s role in domestic bioterrorism. Her research found significant gaps in strategic leadership impacting integration of resources at all levels. It drove her to devise alternatives to deterring terrorism through preparedness and resiliency and to incorporate outcomes based science with policy through simulation to improve understanding and gain knowledge in executive decision making for rare but catastrophic events. Her visionary approach is gaining traction; she is developing an executive decision support tool for the defense community. She is widely published and is a frequently invited speaker at national and international meetings on building resilience and the process and policy underlying preparedness.

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