WMU News

Fogarty designs online course for Hepatitis A prevention

Dec. 12, 2003

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University professor has partnered with a national online publishing and training company to produce a series of health related training modules to help the restaurant and food service industry deal with the threat of Hepatitis A infection.

Dr. Kieran Fogarty, a professor with WMU's new doctoral program in interdisciplinary health studies and formerly a senior epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, was tapped by Grapevine Solutions Inc. to develop the online training program. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Grapevine Solutions is a network design and security firm specializing in online learning solutions.

The first course of the series covers the Hepatitis A virus and was prompted by outbreaks of infection in Knoxville and western Pennsylvania. Grapevine Solutions representatives thought an online course would address an immediate need across the nation and contacted Fogarty through his former colleagues at the CDC.

"Last month, there were 500 cases reported as the result of one outbreak traced to a Chi Chi's in Pennsylvania," Fogarty says. "So there's an urgent need for staff training across the country in how to avoid the spread of Hepatitis A. I'm not aware of another company that is doing this type of targeted training."

The course may be taken online via the Grapevine Solutions Learning System. The learning system contains a reporting system that documents each user's progress and completion. That information could prove to be invaluable both from a training perspective and as part of an individual training record. Fogarty developed all of the course content and testing.

A 10-question pre-test establishes the user's knowledge prior to taking the course, and a final test measures the level of retention after course completion. The course addresses such questions as who can be affected and how Hepatitis A is contracted; who is more likely to contract the virus; symptoms of infection; preventative steps; how the virus is contracted from food or water sources; how it can be destroyed; and vaccination information.

Fogarty is a founding faculty member in WMU's doctoral program in interdisciplinary health studies and joined the WMU faculty in 2002. He served five years with the CDC, where he worked with public health leaders on public health policies and national and international health care initiatives to positively impact communities. While at the CDC, he also served a stint in the elite EIS--Epidemic Intelligence Service--made up of celebrated disease detectives who investigate disease outbreaks around the world. Fogarty was assigned to the World Health Organization in Bangladesh as part of the first international team to attempt the eradication of polio on a global scale.

For more information on Grapevine Solutions Inc. or the new online course, visit the company's Web site at <www.grapevinesolutions.com>.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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