Winning Governor’s Technology Award

I sat in front of my TV last night watching the premiere of a new show that takes research science to a frightening, and thus thoroughly entertaining, level. It was one of those scary hours where you watch people infected with a disease gone awry due to the evil intentions of scientists, political policy makers, and who knows who else.

I sometimes wonder why we’re so intrigued by such presentations of plague and pandemics…perhaps it is because there is an ugly kernel of truth in these fictional thrillers. Scientists “assure” us that global pandemics are not a thing of the past. In fact, in the real world, scientists, medical researchers and policy makers are planning for the next flu pandemic.

By coincidence, I notice today that the university’s Web site reports that JMU’s Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance and the Augusta Medical Center worked together to produce a computer program that can help hospital administrators manage the level of patient care during flu pandemics and other health crises. Their work has received the Governor’s Innovative Use of Technology in Higher Education Award. In the program development, researchers used scenarios such as the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic to gauge the tool’s effectiveness.

That’s great work! While I’m not happy at the thought of it being put to use, it’s good to know serious work has been done on planning for that scary, but probable, situation. Congratulations.

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