NCDMPH Newsletter Spring 2011

PDF version of Spring 2011 Newsletter   

NCDMPH Hosts Pediatrics Education and Training Conference

"Only seven states have laws or regulations requiring licensed child care providers to have basic written emergency plans in place addressing evacuation, reunification and accommodating children with special needs."
--- Gregg Lord, Commissioner of National Commission on Children and Disasters

As recent events in Haiti, Japan and throughout the United States have shown, when a disaster strikes, children are often the most vulnerable - and forgotten - affected group. In an effort to better prepare pediatric responders during a disaster, the NCDMPH recently hosted the Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Curriculum Development Conference.

The conference, held on March 8 and 9 in Bethesda, MD, was a major first step in getting the nation's pediatric responders on the same page when it comes to the response curriculum. The objectives of the conference were to initiate the infrastructure and methodology necessary to create a competency-based pediatric training program and to develop prioritized, education and training recommendations specific to certain healthcare roles.

Both days of the conference included sessions featuring distinguished speakers from the pediatric disaster field, including Richard Serino (FEMA Deputy Administrator), Dr. Kevin Yeskey (HHS/ASPR Representative) and Gregg Lord (Commissioner of National Commission on Children and Disasters).

During his presentation on the National Commission, Lord sent the crowd into murmurs of disapproval when he said, "Only seven states have laws or regulations requiring licensed child care providers to have basic written emergency plans in place addressing evacuation, reunification and accommodating children with special needs," a fact cited from the National Commission's 2009 report.

Attendees of the conference included world-class pediatricians, surgeons, nurses and emergency responders. The structure of the conference was designed so that attendees were divided into one of three working teams: Ambulatory, Emergency Department Hospital Staff and EMS First Responders. Dr. David Siegel gives closing remarks Each of these teams was asked to fill in, modify and add on to a previously designed template of pediatric education and training recommendations. As the teams worked to complete the grids, three roving groups of specialists (Mental Health, Public Health and CBRNE/Infectious Diseases) visited the teams to spark discussion and offer insight on their respective specialties.

After a day and a half of spirited discussion amongst the teams, all attendees reconvened to present their findings to the larger group.

As outlined by the conference''s chair, Dr. David Siegel, Senior Medical Officer of the NIH's National Institute of Child Health Development, the next step of the conference is to produce a report of recommended competencies on pediatric disaster preparedness from the meeting for dissemination to stakeholders. From there, the NCDMPH plans to convene a steering committee to continue the direction of this critical work.

Between the commitment conveyed by the speakers and the passion displayed as the teams discussed the templates, it was clear that everyone participating in the conference has a true desire to improve our nation's pediatric preparedness.

"Thanks to the hard work done here, the outcomes of this conference will go a long way toward making clinicians better prepared to care for children during a disaster," added Kandra Strauss-Riggs, Academic Joint Program Coordinator of the NCDMPH, who also served as the conference co-chair.

The NCDMPH plans to have additional conference updates, as well as the draft report, photos and video clips from the conference posted on its website this spring.

Nation's Workforce Being Examined in NCDMPH Project

The NCDMPH, as outlined in our mission statement, has been given the very large task of leading and coordinating the education and training of all-hazards response for our nation. Part of our strategy for tackling this task is to identify whose education we are coordinating before we recommend what they should be learning. That, in essence, is the goal of what we have come to call the "Workforce Project."

The aim of the Workforce Project is to identify who encompasses the domestic natural disaster workforce and what their capabilities are. As the focal point of this project, the NCDMPH staff is preparing a report on the workforce by examining the medical response capabilities of five core Federal departments - Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Defense, Transportation and Veteran Affairs - which support Emergency Support Function # 8 (ESF- 8) of the National Response Framework. A case study of Los Angeles County will also be included as a representation of state and local agencies.

As part of the report, the Workforce Team - led by Tim Moriarty - is evaluating three core occupational groups (physicians, nurses and paramedics) in terms of requirements for competencies, standards, licensing, liability issues and training. Additional components of the report Members of a disaster workforce participate in a response exercise include data collection from key informant interviews, the development of a pilot case-study focusing on a selected location and disaster type, and a review of government documents and scholarly, peer-reviewed gray literature.

All of these resources are in the process of being culminated into a draft of the report that will ultimately define the capabilities of our nation's workforce in terms of responding to a disaster. Currently, a complete draft of the report is scheduled to be finished by mid summer. However, the finished draft is not the end of the NCDMPH's efforts in this area.

The NCDMPH's Workforce Team plans to convene a conference of workforce experts on Sept. 21-22. The conference, much like the pediatrics competencies conference detailed on Page 1, will allow subject matter experts to collaborate and refine the report. Prior to the conference, the NCDMPH will send pertinent sections of the report to the respective departments and agencies assessed in those sections for initial feedback. After taking that initial feedback into consideration before the conference, the Workforce Team will make necessary changes, and release a full pre-conference draft report available to the invited participants.

Although the objectives and agendas of the conference are still in the planning stage, the team has identified the Hilton Washington Embassy Row (Washington, DC) as the location.

As the initial draft of the report is crafted, the NCDMPH wants to reach out to the broad base of its stakeholders for input on the background literature sources being used as its basis. To this end, the Workforce Team has created a blog feature on the NCDMPH website that allows registered users to view the current literature sources being used and comment, suggest and spark discussion on them. To participate, simply click "Our Blog" on the main navigation bar on the NCDMPH website. Further details on the goals of the blog and how to register for it are available there on the site.

With a massive amount of research being done by the Workforce Team and the important feedback being accumulated from NCDMPH stakeholders and subject matter experts, the Workforce Project is poised to be a significant step in the NCDMPH's vision of a nation of resilient communities with a competent health workforce. To track the progress of this project, register for the feedback blog and check the NCDMPH website regularly for updates.

To learn more about the workforce project and register for the blog, please visit

NCDMPH Partners with AMA on Core Competencies Project

The NCDMPH is partnering with the American Medical Association (AMA) on the TIIDE Core Competencies Project - a joint effort created to identify the common or "core" competencies that could be reasonably expected of all potential health system responders during a disaster.

The project - which stands for Terrorism Injuries: Information Dissemination and Exchange - is being led by the AMA's Public Health Readiness Office, publishers of the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal.

At the outset of the project. the AMA's Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response (CPHPDR) convened representatives of multiple health fields to derive consensus on the core competencies necessary for the discipline of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. This meeting resulted in seven core competencies being agreed upon, with an additional eight competencies being tabled due to time constraints. This work expanded upon a similar effort led by the AMA in 2007.

From there, the draft document was reexamined by a larger, more inclusive multidisciplinary group of collaborators who trimmed the list of 15 competencies down to 12 core competencies. This document was then fine-tuned and posted on the NCDMPH site in a survey form. The survey required responders to designate each core competency with a "Must Include," "Should Include" or "Do Not Include" or label.

Based on an initial round of survey feedback, the multi-disciplinary group re-convened a third time to take input from the survey into consideration. Currently, the survey is once again available in the Joint Program section of the NCDMPH website. After this last round of stakeholder input, the NCDMPH and AMA's CPHDR will finalize the competencies and submit the work for scholarly publication.

The TIIDE project is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more about the project or to participate in the survey, visit http://ncdmph.

NCDMPH Welcomes Laurie Chow and Cynthia Hovor to the Staff

The NCDMPH is proud to introduce the newest members of the full-time staff, Research Associates Laurie Chow (MA, MPH), and Cynthia Hovor (MS). Both Miss Chow and Ms. Hovor have been working diligently on the Workforce Project (see page 2).

As Research Associates, Ms. Chow and Ms. Hovor are responsible for researching and developing the report on our nation'' medical response capabilities of the core Federal departments and state and local agencies. As part of their information gathering, Ms. Chow is leading the research being done on a case study and Ms. Hovor is leading the NCDMPH's efforts to convene a conference of workforce experts this fall.

Ms. Chow comes to the NCDMPH from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at the Acute Communicable Disease Control program. As an intern there, she worked to lower incidences of infectious LaurieChow and CynthiaHovor diseases among children in the community. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from the University of California Riverside, Ms. Chow went on to receive a Master of Arts (University of Memphis) and a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Ms. Hovor joins the NCDMPH after working as a Research Associate at the Center for Health Disparities (CHD), a fellow Center of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. While at CHD, Ms. Hovor served as a liaison between the G.O.S.P.E.L. program, a community-based health education program, and the center. Prior to working at CHD, Ms. Hovor received her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s degree in Health Systems Management from George Mason University.

Further background information on Ms. Chow and Ms. Hovor can be found on the "About Us" section of the NCDMPH website.

Previous Newsletters and Publications

2010 Fall/Winter Newsletter or PDF version
2010 Spring Newsletter or PDF version
2009 Fall Newsletter or PDF version