bioterrorism, emergency preparedness, first responder, problem-based learning, public health



  1. Streichert, Laura C. PhD, MPH
  2. O'Carroll, Patrick W. MD, MPH
  3. Gordon, Philip R. PhD
  4. Stevermer, Andrew C. MSN, ARNP
  5. Turner, Anne M. MD, MPH
  6. Nicola, Ray M. MD, MHSA


The rapid and effective response to a bioterrorist event requires the coordinated efforts of trained personnel from different agencies. This article describes the design and implementation of a 1-week cross-disciplinary course employing problem-based learning (PBL) for professionals with backgrounds in public health, fire/emergency medical services (EMS), law enforcement, emergency management, and hospital administration. The curriculum provided opportunities for professionals from different disciplines to meet and learn the priorities and resources of partner agencies. In course evaluations, participants rated the training highly and found it applicable to their work and a good use of time and training resources. PBL techniques were successful in fostering cross-agency communication, thereby showing promise as an effective training method for meeting local and national emergency preparedness objectives.