IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND DECONTAMINATION IN HUMAN HEALTH SCIENCE DEGREES

Antonio Peña-Fernández, Maria Carmen Lobo-Bedmar, Maria Angeles Peña
2017 ICERI2017 Proceedings   unpublished
A novel short training in environmental toxicology, risk assessment and decontamination was created in the specialty of "Industrial Pharmacy and Galenic" at the University of Alcalá (UAH, Spain) in 2013-14 to provide postgraduate pharmacists with basic skills, tools and knowledge to decontaminate environments affected by chemical accidents. These students completed a highly specialised research-led workshop (training) to decontaminate an open water system affected by a chemical industry spill
more » ... cident using the "UK Recovery Handbook for Chemical Incidents" (UKRHCI; [1]). The UKRHCI has been developed by Public Health England (PHE) and includes innovative methodology to select appropriate decontamination options and techniques to tackle environments impacted by chemicals. This training was modified in 2015/16 to introduce the innovative PHE virtual resource "Chemical Recovery Navigation Tool" (CRNT; [2] ) that follows the same methodology and resources described in the UKRHCI. Comprehensive student feedback, including a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), was collected to investigate the changes implemented in our training. The modifications undertaken raised high levels of student satisfaction. Briefly, 100% students reported that the CRNT facilitated the understanding of the training and the selection of recovery options to respond to the case scenario proposed. Students described as a strength that the workshop was very interesting, interactive and novel and its execution in English (as the training was delivered at the Spanish university UAH). The possibility of working in environmental toxicology and decontamination was described as an opportunity. Students highlighted as weaknesses and threat its low relation with the pharmaceutical industry and brief duration (5 hours). This academic course (2016/17), a comprehensive modification has been undertaken at De Montfort University (DMU, UK) to adapt this novel training to a range of different human health science programmes, including master's students attending the MSc. Advanced Biomedical Science programme at DMU and undergraduate Pharmacy students at the University of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU, Spain). An Erasmus+ mobility grant for academics was satisfactorily used to validate this short training at USP-CEU earlier in 2017. A specific feedback-questionnaire distributed in both academic arenas provided the following results: 85.7% (USP-CEU) and 50% (DMU) neither agree nor disagree with a statement about enjoyment of the workshop provided. 83% of the master's students (DMU) and 86% of undergraduate students (USP-CEU) reported that they learnt how to select appropriate recovery options to decontaminate the open water and urban environments proposed. Finally, 42.9% (57.1% neither agree nor disagree) and 83% of students recommended the incorporation of more, similar training in each programme respectively (USP-CEU and DMU). The short training described in this paper has shown to be effective in improving students' knowledge and skills to restore environments impacted by chemical agents. We consider that all human health undergraduate programmes should teach some topics on environmental toxicology and decontamination due to the increasing use of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals by people and industries around the world.
doi:10.21125/iceri.2017.0499 fatcat:2sxirzvqk5fpdfg4u42awmif2e