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Between May 2010 and September 2011, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to assess the effect of exercises on team performance during public health emergency response.
Participants were divided into 3 research teams exposed to various levels of intervention. Groups consisted of a control group that was given standard MDH training exercises, a didactic group exposed to team dynamics and communication training, and a treatment group that received the didactic training in addition to a post-exercise facilitated debriefing. To assess differences in team performance, teams engaged in 15 functional exercises.
Differences in team performance across the 3 groups were identified, although there was no trend in team performance over time for any of the groups. Groups demonstrated fluctuation in team performance during the study period. Attitudinal surveys demonstrated an increase in workplace satisfaction and confidence in training among all groups throughout the study period.
Findings from this research support that a critical link exists between training type and team performance during public health emergency response. This research supports that intentional teamwork training for emergency response workers is essential for effective public health emergency response. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:7–10)
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