Development of a competency profile for professionals involved in infectious disease preparedness and response in the air transport public health sector

Doret de Rooij*, Rebekka Rebel, Jörg Raab, Christos Hadjichristodoulou, Evelien Belfroid, Aura Timen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Recent infectious disease outbreaks highlight the importance of competent professionals with expertise on public health preparedness and response at airports. The availability of a competency profile for this workforce supports efficient education and training. Although competency profiles for infectious disease control professionals are available, none addresses the complex airport environment. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to develop a competency profile for professionals involved in infectious disease preparedness and response at airports in order to stimulate and direct further education and training.

Methods
We developed the competency profile through the following steps: 1) extraction of competencies from relevant literature, 2) assessment of the profile in a national RAND modified Delphi study with an interdisciplinary expert group (n = 9) and 3) assessment of the profile in an international RAND modified Delphi study with an airport infectious disease management panel of ten European countries (n = 10).

Results
We systematically studied two competency profiles on infectious disease control and three air transport guidelines on event management, and extracted 61 relevant competencies for airports. The two RAND modified Delphi procedures further refined the profile, mainly by specifying a competency’s target group, the organizational level it should be present on, and the exact actions that should be mastered. The final profile, consisting of 59 competencies, covers the whole process from infectious disease preparedness, through the response phase and the recovery at airports.

Conclusion
We designed a profile to support training and exercising the multidisciplinary group of professionals in infectious disease management in the airport setting, and which is ready for use in practice. The many adaptations and adjustments that were needed to develop this profile out of existing profiles and air transport guidelines suggest that other setting-specific profiles in infectious disease control are desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0233360
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Cometences
  • Airports
  • Public Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Personnel

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