AUA and UCLA Host Webinar on Emerging Diseases and Existing Tools

YEREVAN, Armenia — On December 14, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) and the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) jointly hosted the second Community of Practice event titled “Emerging Diseases and Existing Tools.” Over 40 specialists representing the public health community in Armenia participated in the webinar.

Community of Practice is an innovative and interactive platform that provides the appropriate space for continuing education and support of public health professionals to advance their skills and engage in open discussion of up-to-the-minute concepts and practices. This initiative is part of the collaboration between UCLA and AUA to advance public health in Armenia through various programs and services.

The webinar featured Dr. Shira Shafir, infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences and Epidemiology at UCLA FSPH.

Throughout her presentation, Dr. Shafir provided an overview of communicable diseases and control measures, highlighting the importance of public health tools to prevent and control their spread. Dr. Shafir addressed a breadth of evidence-based control measures that target the host, infectious agent, environment, and the route of transmission. She underscored the importance of many public health tools — such as active immunization, chemoprophylaxis and chemotherapy, isolation and quarantine, and behavior change — that would help individuals and communities to protect themselves. Summarizing the evidence from what we know to be effective for the prevention and control of infectious diseases, she emphasized the importance of rapidly recognizing the route of transmission of the infection and tailoring control measures accordingly. She further expanded on airborne, droplet, and contact transmission precaution measures.

Dr. Shafir concluded her presentation bringing focused attention to the Swiss Cheese model, according to which every intervention (layer/slice) has imperfections (holes). Thus, the model emphasizes that multiple layers (interventions) increase the success of infection prevention and control.

This Community of Practice event provided insight into emerging diseases and control measures in the context of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing the role and importance of established public health measures to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks and ensure public health resilience. The UCLA and AUA teams will continue to work together to host Community of Practice events and provide appropriate space for professionals to learn, collaborate, and share experiences.

The UCLA and AUA teams are committed to continuing ongoing training and scaling up the program in an effort to not only help Armenia address the COVID-19 pandemic, but also prepare the country for a resilient future. This initiative is one of the many projects under the umbrella of the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA, which aims to address the needs of Armenia and ensure the health and safety of the population.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

Media Coverage:

[Asbarez] UCLA and AUA Host Webinar on ‘Emerging Diseases and Existing Tools’