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Benchmarks of Value

October 29, 2014

Hello Everyone:

Two weeks ago, Amber Vinson, 29, became the second nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to contract the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who began showing signs of Ebola after arriving in Texas, and later died of it there. On Tuesday, Vinson was discharged from an Atlanta hospital Ebola-free, leaving Dr. Craig Spencer of New York as the only person in the United States known to have, and being treated for, Ebola.

Health care professionals throughout the United States, indeed the country as whole, should rightly treat the recoveries of Vinson and fellow Texas Presbyterian nurse Nina Pham as victories over one of the scourges of our time. Medical professionals also are optimistic about a full recovery for Dr. Spencer. But caution must continue to be exercised, and health care professionals and others must remain watchful and lend whatever assistance they can, as Ebola cuts a deadly swath through Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the three West African nations to which the illness has largely been contained.

U.S. hospitals, managed care organizations, physician groups, and health sciences universities are taking steps to educate their constituencies and communities about Ebola, while at the same time developing processes and procedures for handling those patients who may show symptoms of the disease. WesternU is no exception. On the remote chance that such cases present themselves on one of our campuses, the University’s recently formed Ebola Task Force is developing procedures for handling them, and also is creating communication and reporting strategies for dealing with such incidents. In the meantime, the task force has created an Ebola information page linked prominently from the News & Announcements section of WesternU’s website, www.westernu.edu. The information page can be accessed directly here: http://www.westernu.edu/publicaffairs/ebola-information-resource/.

The odds that these procedures and processes will ever need to be implemented are quite long. But as an institution at the leading edge of health education and information, and as a deeply engaged participant in sustaining the health of the world community, WesternU stands ready to assist in the fight against Ebola or any other illness that threatens the health of our fellows and demands the attention of health care providers everywhere.

As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU’s Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at ppumerantz@westernu.edu, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.

My best to you all,