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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, one of the nation-s leaders in online physician training, and the Detroit Medical Center, one of the country-s leading academic health systems, are partnering to provide the nation-s emergency physicians a free, online bioterrorism intervention training program. The program is expected to draw over 3,000 physicians during a four-month period of online class offerings.

The training program, BT101, was developed by Dr. Michael Stahl, Director of UT’s Physician Executive MBA (PEMBA), and Dr. Ronald K. Reynolds, a board certified emergency medicine physician from Myrtle Beach, S.C. and CEO of Anywhere Web Conferencing. BT101 is an Internet-based training forum for emergency room physicians on health care issues associated with bioterrorism.

Beginning Dec. 4, the fully interactive online forum will be presented in three, one-hour sessions through UT-s PEMBA program. Physicians can begin sign-up for course offerings by logging onto the UT Web site at www.pemba.utk.edu/bt101/.

The program will consist of 90, one-hour sessions conducted online with up to 100 participants per session. Instructors will include top emergency medical practitioners with academic backgrounds from leading facilities like the Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Brigham and Women-s Hospital in Boston and Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

“This program will provide emergency health care providers with detailed and current information related to identifying and treating patients exposed to agents of bio-terrorism through a dynamic learning environment,” Stahl said. “Physicians will hook up to a live virtual classroom through Web sites, e-mail and audio links. The program also offers a whiteboard program and online polling.”

The program will address the lack of information on the diagnosis and treatment of exposure to bioterrorism agents currently available to emergency physicians, said Dr. Arthur T. Porter, DMC-s president and CEO. Approximately 20 teaching physicians will cover the latest Center for Disease Control information from a biological, infectious disease and disease management perspective on the potential problems.

“Our partnership is in direct response to physicians in smaller systems and hospitals across the country who have been asking for the opportunity to hear how high-volume emergency centers are establishing best practice models,” Porter said.

The DMC operates eight Michigan hospitals and has, on average, more than 175,000 emergency room visits per year. The DMC hospitals include Detroit Receiving Hospital, the nation’s only hospital devoted exclusively to adult emergency medicine, trauma, burns and critical care.

The University of Tennessee-s Office of Distance Education and Independent Study leads the nation in providing online physician education via interactive audio and data, training physicians in a variety of fields on a national basis.

The bioterrorism program will be offered free to physicians with sponsorships provided by the University of Tennessee and Detroit Medical Center.