Zombies May Eat Our Brains: And Teach Us Something Too!

Zombies haven’t literally invaded our cities, towns or homes (yet!), but they certainly have invaded popular culture in a big way. This multi-billion dollar, brain-eating, flesh-chewing industry has spawned countless movies, TV shows, video games, books and merchandise, and shows no signs of slowing to a lifeless crawl any time soon.And now they are starting to invade our classrooms, universities, lecture halls and even army training camps, in a surprisingly useful way – as “teachers” of disaster-preparedness and survival techniques.

This insightful article from the Wall Street Journal offers a thesis as to why “Zombie-Mania” has captured the brains (and dollars) of millions of consumers, but also discusses how scholars, policy-makers and even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are starting to leverage our morbid fascination with the undead as a way to educate the masses on being better-prepared for post-apocalyptic scenarios.

The U.S. Army recently recruited Max Brooks, author of “The Zombie Survival Guide,” as a guest speaker at its Hurricane Rehearsal of Concept event. “For the first time, you have young people being interested in being prepared, being ‘tricked into’ taking care of themselves, really, because even if the zombie apocalypse does not happen, they will be ready for the next hurricane or next disaster,” Brooks said.

The University of Michigan’s School of Public Health staged a “zombie apocalypse” — modeled after a curriculum designed by the CDC — and quickly attracted four times the number of students who usually attend its “Epidemiology and Public Health Management of Disasters” classes. Even local health departments, like the BCHD in Boone County, West Virginia, are using “zombie events” to prepare community partners and the public for real-life bioterrorism threats.

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