The recent H1N1 pandemic, creating anxiety all over the world, was a major challenge for IDEP, the local community, the state and nation. While fortunately there were far fewer deaths from this outbreak than could have occurred, many young people and pregnant women became the target of the disease leading to a significant amount of deaths among this most vulnerable group.
IDEP provided education regarding H1N1 through a combination of presentations and with printed material that it circulated on the Nova Southeastern University campus, in Florida, and throughout and nationally. A task force was created by IDEP leading to a plan for preventing the disease and responding to outbreaks for the purpose of containment.
On multiple occasions it was consulted to provide information and guidance regarding the disease encouraging immunization and dispelling non-scientific rumors about the safety of the vaccine. A major part of the IDEP H1N1 initiative was the distribution of authoritative information virtually daily during the height of the pandemic as the method of response evolved. It monitored and shared information about the state of pandemic often received daily from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the Florida Department of Health.
In addition to its adult and college age population, Nova Southeastern University also includes children from age 6 months (Mailman Segal Center for Human Development) through grade 12 (elementary, intermediate and high school) who are particularly at risk for H1N1. Perhaps due to some of the efforts of IDEP, the NSU campus had one of the lowest rates of H1N1 in the state.