This week, the first diagnosed case of Ebola was identified in the US. Naturally, residents in Dallas, TX (and beyond) are concerned about the highly contagious, deadly disease spreading.
Print out some basic information on the current situation (i.e. the timeline of infection, number of people in direct contact with the patient, how the disease is spread, symptoms, etc) and distribute it to your group. This article has some basic info to help stage the situation.
Assign each person in your group with any of the following roles (or if you have a large group, assign the roles to teams):
- Head of the hospital currently treating the patient with Ebola
- Head of the hospital that failed to correctly diagnose Ebola when the patient first presented symptoms
- Head of other local hospital not treating the infected patient
- Head of the airlines that transported the patient from Africa recently
- Head of other airlines that frequently service Africa
- Mayor of Dallas
- Family member of the infected patient
- President of the United States
Instructions: The Ebola virus has been identified in the United States. As of today, one individual has been infected and is being treated in a hospital in Dallas, TX. Although no one else has shown symptoms of Ebola, current estimates indicate as many as 100 people could have had direct contact with the infected patient. You have been assigned a key role in handling this situation. What steps would you take from this point?
Trainer tip: Leave the initial directions open-ended so the group can think creatively about their next steps. After some time, bring the group back together and ask each person/team to share their strategic plan.
Hand out the RED Model to group and ask participants to follow-up with critical thinking questions for each strategic plan.
Possible discussion questions:
- What would you do from an educational/PR perspective?
- How would you calm the fears of Dallas residents?
- What protocols would you put in place to identify early symptoms?
- Would you restrict all travel from West Africa?
- How would you identify and notify everyone who has had contact with the infected patient?
- Which experts would you enlist for help with this situation?
- If you lived in Dallas, what steps would you take to protect your family?
What additional questions would you ask if you delivered this strategic thinking exercise to your team?
What additional roles would you assign?
Learn more about the connection between critical thinking and job performance by downloading this white paper.