Human health is connected to the health of the environment and the animals inhabiting it. Viruses that originate in wildlife, such as HIV, Zika, Ebola, and influenza, can infect humans and our livestock and spread rapidly around the globe. In this forum, participants learn about and discuss the decision-making behind how we deal with disease outbreaks and how we can prevent the next outbreak from occurring.
A forum developed for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as part of the online pop-up for their Outbreak exhibit. The forum has two scenarios that could be done separately with modification but are designed to be run consecutively in a 2 hour block.
The first scenario has participants imagine themselves as the head of a West African country’s outbreak response team during an outbreak of Ebola. They read about some of the risk factors that are important to the scenario and learn about some of the different strategies for responding to the outbreak. As a group, they then divide their pool of 10 outbreak responder tokens among the 4 strategies to come up with an entire outbreak response plan.
The second scenario shifts the discussion from outbreak response to outbreak prevention. Participants imagine themselves as part of a committee tasked with creating an avian flu resilience plan. Similarly to the first scenario, they read about risk factors and the strategies available to them. They then do a value mapping exercise, where they will judge each of the prevention strategies according to three criteria: fairness, number of negative consequences, and likeliness to prevent an outbreak. Finally, participants will create a prevention plan that fits within their 10 million dollar budget using the strategies, which each have a predetermined cost.