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BUS:Disease Detective - Health Informatics (HST)

Additional Core Ties

College and Career Awareness
Strand 2 Standard 1

Time Frame

3 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Denise Abbott
Diane Lungo


In this lesson, students will become familiar with careers in the Health Informatics Pathway.


For this activity, the teacher will need copies of the following attachments found under the Instructional Procedures section:

  • National Health Care Pathways and Careers
  • Mission Possible PowerPoint
  • Student Booklet for the Disease Detective Activity
  • Activity 1 Potluck Contributors
  • Activity 2 Patient Record
  • Activity 3 Epidemiologist Charts
  • Activity 4 Types of Illnesses
  • Activity 5 Review Questions

Background for Teachers



The teacher should review the attached document titled "Mission Possible Background Info" for information on food-borne illness and chemical poisoning to be able to help guide the students through the activity.

Instructional Procedures



Step 1
Explain to students that they will be exploring careers from the Health Informatics Pathway. Explain to students that occupations from the Health Informatics Pathway document patient care as well as teach principles of health and wellness to the public. Review the attached National Health Care Pathways and Careers document for careers found in the Health Informatics Pathway. Emphasize to students that they will be discussing at an actual event which was shared by a former Health Inspector. All names and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of those individuals involved with the actual event.

Step 2
Students are given the Booklet for the Disease Detective and view the PowerPoint presentation titled, "Mission Possible: The Case of the Potluck Poisoning."

Step 3
As the students watch the "Mission Possible" presentation, they should complete the worksheet from Activity #1. The worksheet titled, "Identify the Four Contributors to the Potluck Dinner" will help the students focus on important facts of the case. Assist students as needed.

Step 4
As the patients are admitted to the emergency department, explain to students that a health care worker is responsible for obtaining information on each patient. This is the role of the Admitting Clerk. Students will take turns acting as the Admitting Clerk by completing Activity #2 as they interview each other.

Step 5
In the next section, students will assume the role of the Epidemiologist who has the assignment of figuring out what made the potluck dinner participants sick. Using Activity #3 - The Epidemiologist's Chart, students will look at each potluck dinner participant to determine whether or not they got sick, and if they did get sick, to determine what food(s) may have made them sick.

Step 6
Use Activity #4 to review the signs and symptoms of both food and chemical poisoning.

Step 7
Activity #5 should now be used by the students to put together all the information they have learned and determine what made everyone ill at the potluck dinner. Explain to the students that an Epidemiologist is truly a Disease Detective!


If you have additional time, students should be encouraged to explore additional careers in the Health Informatics Pathway.

Created: 05/17/2004
Updated: 01/21/2018