Monday, March 27, 2006

33 Wikis: #4 -- The Flu Wiki

This is the fourth installment in "33 Wikis," a close look at best practices in wiki-based collaboration. Each day -- for 33 days -- we look at one wiki and briefly describe what the wiki is for, why we like it, and what we can all learn from it. If you want to nominate a wiki, please let us know. On day 34 we will post a public wiki featuring info on all nominees.

Several readers of this blog have nominated
"Flu Wiki" for the "33 Wikis" round-up. We thank Shaula Evans, Zoli Erdos, and others.

What this wiki is for: "The purpose of the Flu Wiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies.... But no one, in any health department or government agency, knows all the things needed to cope with an influenza pandemic." "Flu Wiki" serves as a virtual clearinghouse of current information on the spread of flu strains, public policy, and legal issues. It also has a lively discussion forum, dealing with questions as small and specific as "recipes using can goods only." That's one of the beautiful things about a wiki -- the easy ability to support and archive micro-conversations.

Why we like it: Not only is this wiki timely; it also aims to fill the substantial gap that exists between community needs and institutional resources. As the organizers note, "Flu Wiki is not meant to be a substitute for planning, preparation and implementation by civil authorities, but instead is a parallel effort that complements, supports and extends those efforts." We also like it because it employs a similar "wisdom of the crowds" approach to information gathering that Healthline (Eastwick client) is using on "Flu Central."

What we can all learn from it: If wikis can be shown to be useful in bridging the gap between needs and existing services, we'll see many more projects like this. "Flu Wiki" is a wiki worth watching.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done work, and very useful indeed
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

Listening and talking to children about their concerns can reassure them that they will be safe. Start by encouraging them to discuss how they have been affected by what is happening around them. Even young children may have specific questions about tragedies. Children react to stress at their own developmental level.

The Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign offers these pointers for parents and other caregivers:

* Encourage children to ask questions. Listen to what they say. Provide comfort and assurance that address their specific fears. It's okay to admit you can't answer all of their questions.
* Talk on their level. Communicate with your children in a way they can understand. Don't get too technical or complicated.
* Find out what frightens them. Encourage your children to talk about fears they may have. They may worry that someone will harm them at school or that someone will try to hurt you.
* Focus on the positive. Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring. Remind your child of the heroic actions taken by ordinary people to help victims of tragedy.
* Pay attention. Your children's play and drawings may give you a glimpse into their questions or concerns. Ask them to tell you what is going on in the game or the picture. It's an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions, answer questions, and give reassurance.
* Develop a plan. Establish a family emergency plan for the future, such as a meeting place where everyone should gather if something unexpected happens in your family or neighborhood. It can help you and your children feel safer.

If you are concerned about your child's reaction to stress or trauma, call your physician or a community mental health center.

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