Innovative and Sustainable Global Laboratory Training and Efficiency Enhancement

In this project, TEPHINET, in collaboration with global partners, will actively promote the development and use of cost-effective public health laboratory competency training tools using innovative technologies.

Traditionally, the train-the-trainer model has been used to amplify reach across all levels of healthcare in partner countries. Although the traditional hands-on practical approach is the mainstay of laboratory training, new and emerging technology-based approaches, such as electronic and mobile learning, virtual learning (virtual classrooms), and immersive virtual reality (tactical and strategic immersions) techniques have been increasingly applied.

TEPHINET proposes innovative laboratory training and workforce development activities to ensure long-term sustainability, efficiency and country ownership of ongoing laboratory preparedness and response activities. The training topics will be tailored to immediate and long-term needs of partner countries based on the findings of ongoing needs assessment and discussion. 

Specific training includes workforce development, core laboratory competencies and management, facility and equipment maintenance, quality management system implementation, biosafety and biosecurity, as well as specific disease diagnostics (e.g., Zika and Ebola).

Project Objectives
  • Development and field testing of immersive virtual and/or augmented reality laboratory training tools covering modules on:
    • Guided instruction of standard laboratory operating procedures (SOPs) followed by immersive simulation to perform the SOPs.
    • Visualization and interactive operation guides for complex, priority laboratory equipment (e.g., equipment used for molecular techniques, serology, immunology and culture)
    • Step-by-step processes to mitigate laboratory biohazards such as proper use and maintenance of engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) to optimize performance and maximize safety of laboratory operations
  • Pilot the implementation of innovative laboratory capacity mapping and other laboratory efficiency improvement activities, including:
    • Utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of laboratory diagnosis, surveillance and outbreak response
    • Cost-effectiveness studies on newly introduced innovative tools
Laboratory investigation, Epidemiology training