Nebraska, United States


Nebraska, United States



Sharon Medcalf, PhD, MEd, RN

Sharon Medcalf is a Co-Director of the Center for Preparedness Education in the Center for Biopreparedness, Biosecurity, and Emerging Infectious Diseases and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Sharon was instrumental in the establishment of the College of Public Health’s new academic programs in emergency preparedness. She developed four core courses for the professional certificate and master of science programs and directs two of the courses each semester. Ms. Medcalf is serving her second term on the Board of Directors of the Public Health Association of Nebraska and values being part of an organization that is bolstering the public health infrastructure in Nebraska. Her research area of interest is smallpox. She was heavily involved in the National Smallpox Vaccination program launched in 2003. In response to a credible threat, the US vaccinated almost 40,000 health care and public health workers across the nation. Her colleagues in the laboratories also established a network of sites to test for smallpox. Her current research project is looking at smallpox vaccination in laboratory workers at smallpox testing sites across the country.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529


Kevin Kwan

Gary L. Gorby, MD

Dr Gorby is Chief of Medicine for the Department of Veteran Affairs Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System. He is also an Associate Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Creighton University School of Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Dr Gorby serves on the Creighton University Biosafety Committee and has an active interest in applying computer technology for designing interactive lectures and websites. He has received the Innovative Use of Instructional Technology Award from Creighton University.

[email protected] | 402.552.2529


Kevin Kwan

Elayne Saejung, MS
Assistant Director

Elayne Saejung is responsible for oversight and management of the Center for Preparedness Education. She leads staff in the development and delivery of training and exercises designed to strengthen community preparedness efforts. Ms. Saejung has a Master of Science in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases from Georgetown University and has been working with preparedness since 2004. She was a 2015 Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and her career focus is on policy and planning for all-hazards disaster management with a background in public health preparedness, weapons of mass destruction policy, and HAZMAT operations. She has experience with nationwide training of first responders through the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, with whom she coordinated a multiple institutional delivery of FEMA-certified training that focused on personal protective measures in response to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. She also provided briefings to members of The Governor’s Cabinet of Hawaii on public health preparedness efforts and has planned ESF-8 response to large-scale events, such as the Kentucky Derby.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529

Kevin Kwan

Leslie Gunning-Scofield, MPH
Director of First Responder Education

As Director for First Responder Education, Leslie’s responsibility involves identifying gaps in knowledge and training needs as they pertain to Law Enforcement, EMS, Emergency Management and Fire personnel within the state of Nebraska.
Ms. Scofield is Coordinator for a regional training center for National Disaster Life Support™ programs and is an active member of the NDLS® Educational Consortium. She has served as a proctor for the National Disaster Life Support Foundation and has become a mentor to organizations wishing to become NDLS® Training Centers.

Leslie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from University of Nebraska Omaha and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is a member of the Metro Area Loss Team, Omaha Area Medical Reserve Corps and the Central Nebraska Medical Reserve Corps.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.3116


Barbara Dodge, B-Ed
Director of Hospital Preparedness

As Director of Hospital Preparedness programs, Barbara works closely with Nebraska hospitals to assist them in preparedness planning and education. She designs curriculum-specific hospital needs, trains instructors and coordinates mass trainings.
Barbara delivers the Hospital First Receiver Course and its Refresher course across the state. She also teaches position-specific Incident Command training for hospitals and develops disaster exercises. For the past 11 years Barbara has served on the National HICS Advisory Board and work groups which update the Hospital Incident Command System to better serve the needs of US hospitals. Barbara facilitated a group of Nebraska Critical Access hospitals in customizing the new HICS Job Actions Sheets to better fit the needs of small hospitals. Those forms are now being used across the country.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.3101

Tonya Ngotel, BA
Director of Exercise Programs

As the Director of Exercise Programs, Tonya’s responsible for supporting the exercise and training mission with the Center. She serves as the lead facilitator in exercise development and outreach. Tonya’s experience is in emergency management, project management, hazardous materials planning and group facilitation. She has served as immediate past president of her national association for 4 years and has taken the lead on several national projects including a National Academies of Science study titled “Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape”.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.9724

Rachel Lookadoo, JD
Direct of Public Health Preparedness

As Director of Public Health Preparedness, Rachel is responsible for providing education and training related to various aspects of emergency preparedness. Rachel also provides consulting services to entities impacted by the CMS emergency preparedness regulations. Rachel’s experience is in healthcare compliance, and with assisting healthcare facilities in implementing federal and state emergency preparedness regulations. An attorney by background, Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Baylor University and a Law Degree from American University Washington College of Law.

[email protected] ǀ 402-552-9649


Beckie McCaw
Administrative Assistant

Beckie provides administrative assistance for the Center staff. She serves as an initial point of contact for those who work with the Center and those attending trainings provided through the Center for Preparedness Education. Beckie also handles many of the accounting functions for the Center and works behind the scenes to make sure Center operations run smoothly.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.3122


Kristine Sanger, BS, MT(ASCP), HCPCP

In her role at the Center for Preparedness Education, Kristine is responsible for coordination of disaster exercises and conferences. The trainings and exercises that she has developed range from small internal programs to large community exercises. She provides expertise in facilitation, training & exercise plan development, disaster preparedness continuing education, conference coordination and coalition building for healthcare and public health emergency managers. She has been trained in Healthcare Business Continuity through DRI International and is a certified Healthcare Provider Continuity Professional (HCPCP). She is the Associate Director of the Association of Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professional, on the Emergency Preparedness Committee for the National Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and is involved in the Medical Response Systems throughout Nebraska. Kristi has extensive experience in the healthcare field with a background in Clinical Laboratory Science, Embryology, Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Employee Safety and Disaster Preparedness.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529


John Lowe, PhD, MS
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Inter-professional Health Security Training and Education

Associate Professor of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health
Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health
University of Nebraska Medical Center
College of Public Health

John Lowe, PhD serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Security Training and Education, Director of Research for the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, Executive Council for the Global Center for Health Security and Associate Professor with the University Of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.  Dr. Lowe has peer reviewed papers in molecular virology, industrial hygiene and environmental exposure assessment, focusing on environmental microbiology and disrupting transmission of highly infectious diseases. He currently serves as primary investigator on multiple extramural and his research has helped to determine national policies, procedures, and best practices to treat patients with Ebola virus disease and other highly infectious diseases. Specific areas of focus include patient transportation, waste handling/disposal, patient discharge, patient remains, PPE donning and doffing, decontamination, etc. Dr. Lowe holds leadership roles in several organizations and centers, such as the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, the National Quarantine Unit, the National Ebola Training and Education Center, and the National Health Security Training Center. John is Co-PI of the Biosafety and Infectious Disease Training Initiative, a NIEHS funded consortium.  Dr. Lowe has funded projects associated with addressing and disrupting the spread of highly infectious diseases through laboratory capacity building and clinical trials in West Africa as well as research initiatives with Department of Defense to optimize high-level isolation systems.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529

Kevin Kwan

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNMC COPH

A Pediatrician and Infectious Disease Physician, Dr. Ted Cieslak currently serves as Associate Director of UNMC’s Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases. He holds the rank of Associate Professor of Epidemiology within the University’s College of Public Health and also serves as Co-Director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit.

Dr. Cieslak received his B.S. in Chemistry and his M.D degree from The Ohio State University. He went on to complete a Residency in Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and Fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Cieslak is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). He is board-certified in Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases, and Tropical Medicine. He is past president of the Armed Forces Infectious Disease Society (the military chapter of the IDSA), former Consultant to the Army Surgeon General on Biodefense, and former head of the US delegation to NATO’s Biomedical Advisory Council. He recently retired from active duty after 30 years with the US Army, where his prominent assignments included: Chief of Operational Medicine at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID; 1996-2001); Chairman of the San Antonio Military Pediatric Center (2001-2006); Defense Department Liaison to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC; 2006-2010) and Chief Consultant to the Surgeon General (2010-2013).

He has deployed three times: In 1994, he was the senior physician in the Cuban refugee camps established in Panama; in 2004, he served a tour in Iraq, where he provided medical care to the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade of the 1stt Armored Division; in 2014, he served as the medical advisor to Central Command’s forward element in Jordan. Additionally, COL Cieslak has worked on Pediatric nutrition projects in Honduras and on the Hepatitis A vaccine trial in Thailand. He has published approximately 90 papers and book chapters, principally in the field of Biodefense. His other areas of interest include Public Health, Immunization, Travel Medicine, Humanitarian Pediatrics, Animal Bites, and Adoption Medicine.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529

 Dr. Phil Smith

Philip W. Smith, MD
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Smith is a professor in the Epidemiology Department, College of Public Health, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and Director of the Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness and Emerging Infectious Diseases in the UNMC College of Public Health. He is Medical Director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit.He serves on various local, state and national committees for biopreparedness and pandemic influenza preparedness, and is president and founder of the Nebraska Infection Control Network. He received the Sir William Osler Teaching Award from the Department of Internal Medicine at UNMC, the Robert D Sparks Award for Achievement in Public Health and Preventive Medicine from the UNMC College of Public Health, and the Physician of Distinction Award from the Nebraska Medical Center . A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. Smith has nearly 200 total publications.

[email protected] ǀ 402.552.2529