Cecilia Rokusek, Ed.D., M.S., R.D.Assistant Dean for Education, Planning, and Research Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine

Cecilia Rokusek, Ed.D., M.S., R.D., is assistant dean for education, planning, and research at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). She is the program manager for NSU COM’s Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness (IDEP) and a professor in the college’s disaster and emergency preparedness master of science degree program, which she helped establish. Dr. Rokusek is a national trainer in the area of personal and professional preparedness. She has worked with the National Association of Federally Qualified Community Health Programs in developing and presenting programs on Preparedness and Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP). She works closely with local, state, national, and international agencies to develop and distribute training programs and educational materials related to disaster and emergency preparedness for individuals, businesses, and communities. IDEP is a national center originally funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Under Dr. Rokusek’s direction, the Institute has become a leader in developing and implementing interdisciplinary all-hazards preparedness training and educational materials. Dr. Rokusek has spoken to number of state and national medical groups on preparedness issues related to practice and post-disaster recovery.

Following is Dr. Rokusek's expert opinion on the public health threat of Ebola:"Ebola is a major public health threat. It has always been one for Africa, especially central Africa, where it was first recognized in Sudan and the Congo. We as public health professionals have always discussed it but we have not thought of it as a major virus that could impact the U.S. Now with global travel which has become a standard way of life for so many people worldwide, this threat now becomes a very real issue for our global society. Ebola in particular is so dangerous because it can be transmitted not only from human to human but also from animal to human and the effects are usually deadly. Like with all public health preparedness issues, we must always be knowledge about preparedness and personal precautions. This is something Americans often do not think about until the realities of public health dangers like Ebola are on their back steps. Precautions are simple: awareness and knowledge put into practice for everyone. This includes hand hygiene at all times, respiratory hygiene when around potential infected areas (includes mask wearing), and use of protective equipment when working with individuals infected with Ebola. It is also extremely important to have safe injections and for drug users, never using an old needle. It is also important to have safe burials for individuals who had the virus. Americans generally do not have an immediate danger but they must be prepared through good public health practice. We can do longer become complacent to any public health danger anywhere."