It’s something that public health has to deal with on a regular basis, figuring out the causes of diseases. And today high school students got to experience that situation by staging the scene of a hepatitis outbreak. Today high school students from all across Kern County got to participate in a health crisis situation and then go in front of the media to explain all of their findings.
32 high school students arrived at public health today to learn about the jobs of different employees at public health. It’s part of a youth leadership program through the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Inside and outside the public health building there was a hospital, different places the fake outbreak could have started and a room that would later hold a press conference.
The students were broken into six strike teams as they arrived. They were told there was a Hepatitis A outbreak and to figure out the cause. The students changed into hazmat suits and first traveled to makeshift hospital to find out what caused the fake outbreak where they interviewed sick patients.
"I'm with public health, we're here to do an investigation to see where you got your sickness so we're gonna ask you a series of questions, stating with can we have your name please,” said Russell Hasting, a public health nurse as he lead around a group of students. These patients were supposed to act like they had been infected and where they possibly could have gotten it so students would know where to check for the outbreak.
Students then headed to a makeshift homeless center at public health to see if their patient could have gotten the infection from there. Volunteer actors made the locations as believable as possible to learn how they would handle a crisis situation. After investigating each team designated a member to share their findings with the other teams and the media at a mock press conference.
The point was to teach students about all the different job opportunities available at Public Health and make them excited to get jobs here in Kern County. These students in this program apply at their schools, interview and are then selected to visit different job locations each month.