Our Latest News and Events.

-- NCDMPH at APHA 2014 --

Last week, National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health staff members attended the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition. The conference, from November 15 - 19 in New Orleans, focused on a wide variety of topics in public health. In an area so recently devastated by both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there were an assortment of presentations related to disaster preparedness and recovery, and a number of disaster health leaders speaking.

2014 APHA Poster

In addition to attending numerous meetings and presentations with our colleagues from other public health organizations around the country and around the world, we were presenting our poster "Role of Local Public Health in Disaster Recovery: Successes and Challenges after Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy". The poster was a huge success, and through it we engaged with a wide array of conference attendees, including people from the areas most affected by the storms we focused on, and a number of international conference participants.

For more information about APHA 2014, please visit the conference website, or search on Twitter for #APHA14.

November 7th 2014

-- Stay Warm and Stay Safe this Winter --

Much of the country is in the midst of the first major cold snap of the season this week, and with December and winter right around the corner, people in regions all around the country are going to be dealing with the first snow of the year, as well as cold temperatures, high winds, freezing rain, and other winter hazards. In winter 2012-2013, NCDMPH compiled a list of 12 winter preparedness tips to help you stay safe, here is that list updated for winter 2014-2015:

Staying Informed

NWS Weather Map
  1. Weather forecasts constantly change. Check your local news and the National Weather Service for detailed winter-weather updates.

  2. There are different categories of winter-weather and each type comes with different risks. Use this cheat sheet from NOAA when listening to the forecast.

  3. Make sure you dress appropriately when going outside after the storm.

  4. Drive only when necessary during and after severe winter weather. Always check local road conditions for any closures, detours, and accidents. Before the storm arrives, check your car's fluid levels and fix any leaks. National Public Radio's Car Talk has multiple resources regarding common winter driving hazards.


  1. Read the Centers for Disease Control’s "Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety PDF ."

  2. Review the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia and understand basic first aid for these conditions.

  3. Create a plan for your family and office in case power goes out.

  4. Take time to teach your kids about disaster preparedness by involving them in the planning process.

  5. If you have pets, take the necessary precautions to protect them for winter weather.

  6. The CDC has various Winter Weather PSAs or PodCasts on topics like "Recognizing Hypothermia" and "Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During a Power Outage."

  7. Check the insulation in your home and service snow-removal equipment before weather arrives. Prepare both your home and car with supplies in case of an emergency.

  8. Keep your food safe by reviewing the USDA’s recommendations and invest in a food thermometer.

November 7th 2014

-- CDC Releases Journal Supplement --

CDC Releases Journal Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) recently released a supplement to the United States Public Health Service’s Public Health Report #29, entitled Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers: Outcomes from the Federal Investment in Public Health Systems Research to Strengthen Preparedness and Response.

The supplement focuses on examples of the work conducted by the CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Centers (PERRCs), demonstrating how public health research improves our understanding of how to improve our preparedness for and response to disasters.

From 2008-2014, CDC, granted $57 million to sponsor research programs at nine PERRCs at accredited U.S. schools of public health. The findings from these research projects as detailed in the supplement will be used to help improve public health practice for preparedness and emergency response planning and policies at the local, state, federal, and tribal level.

NCDMPH salutes CDC and ASPPH for their continuing efforts to improve disaster readiness and response all across the nation.

For those interested in learning more about the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) Extramural Research Program, please visit Extramural Research Program (ERP).

September 9th 2014

-- The 2014 Learning in Disaster Health Workshop Opens Today in Washington DC --

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health’s 2014 workshop Learning in Disaster Health begins today in the DC Metro Area. For both those attending and for those that cannot attend, NCDMPH posted essential workshop materials on our website:

Learning in Disaster Health -  September 9-10, 2014

Everyone can interact with session content by participating on Twitter via the workshop hashtag, #LDH14. The hashtag will also facilitate conversations with those who cannot attend the event in person.

The general session “Enhancing Recovery through Learning, Education, and Training” will include its own hashtag #EnhanceRecovery. Offsite participants can join in on session discussion by following the hashtag on Tuesday September 9th at 3:30 PM ET. All social media activity during the event will be archived.

That National Center looks forward to interacting with participants whether they are online or onsite. Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on LDH ’14 and future events.

August 27th 2014

-- Recent California Earthquake Highlights Importance of Preparedness Month --

On August 24, the strongest earthquake in California in 25 years impacted Napa Valley. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake caused infrastructure damage and led to over 200 injuries. Since Sunday, the region has experienced over 140 aftershocks. Inspections for structural damage are ongoing while the tourism industry in the region remains active.

FEMA advertises the importance of disaster planning

The National Center encourages those aware of the events in Napa to reflect on their own earthquake preparedness. NCDMPH’s Resilience through Learning pages offer resources for individuals, educators, and trainers based on different disasters. The Earthquakes page includes links to resources focused on the health, psychosocial, and community health recovery impacts of earthquakes.

The earthquake in Napa and the swift response of emergency officials emphasizes the importance of disaster preparedness. Next September is National Preparedness Month, an annual effort spearheaded by Ready.gov. This year’s theme is “Be Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” America’s PrepareAthon occurs at the end of the month and is a National Day of Action for preparedness on the personal, community, and organizational level.

NCDMPH has several resources and events to help you participate in National Preparedness Month:

For more updates on National Preparedness Month, follow-us on Twitter at twitter.com/NCDMPH.

August 19th 2014

-- 2013 Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Projects --

The National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Resource Center recently hosted two awardees of their 2013 Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Projects in their Disaster Info Specialist Program Meeting. NLM grants these annual awards to libraries and organizations interested in amplifying disaster preparedness through collaborative partnerships.

The presentation from Texas Health Fort Worth Medical Library focused on their partnership with Texas Health Resources Emergency Management, Texas Health Fort Worth Safety Department and MedStar EMS Mobile Healthcare. Their project focused on increasing access to NLM databases for librarians and providing access and equipment. This effort included participating in hospital drills, holding courses on NLM resources, and providing emergency management coordinators with iPads.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health partnered with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the 2-1-1 Texas Rio Grande Region. As in Fort Worth, this partnership aimed to amplify the availability of health and emergency preparedness information. The project focused on accessibility with efforts such as creating an English/Spanish preparedness resource directory and introducing librarian staff to community health workers.

The third project, "Disaster Health Information in American Samoa", could not attend the meeting. This project is a partnership between the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) and the Feleti Barstow Public Library and the American Samoa Government’s Public Health Department. This partnership is working towards increased disaster health information access.

More detailed information on all of these projects is available in the recent webinar by NLM DIMRC. The 2014 awardees will be announced soon.

August 14th 2014

-- National Center announces Curriculum Recommendations focused on Geriatrics --

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health recently continued to strengthen its collaborations with the graduate schools at Uniformed Services University through the creation of a unique set of curriculum recommendations. Subject matter experts affiliated with the USU Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) and the USU Graduate School of Medicine wrote an extensive guide on curriculum recommendations for disaster health professionals with a focus on the geriatric population.

Geriatric patient receives care.

Two of the authors, Dr. Catherine G. Ling, FNP-BC and Heather Johnson, Lt Col, USAF, (ret), DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, from GSN, previously worked with NCDMPH on the curriculum recommendations for the pediatric population. They were joined by coauthor LCDR Elexis C. McBee, USN, DO, FACP from USU Graduate School of Medicine.

These peer-reviewed recommendations meet a unique need in the disaster health community. As noted in the recommendations, the Administration on Aging predicts that the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double from the years 2000 to 2030. This projected surge in population necessitates increased competency of the disaster health workforce to meet the needs of the geriatric demographic. These curriculum recommendations aim to fill this particular knowledge gap.

These recommendations are not a prescriptive curriculum, but rather provide educators an opportunity to find content that meets their learners’ needs. The National Center thanks the work of the authors as well as the contributions made by the subject matter expert reviewers. Visit our main curriculum recommendations page to access recent and past curriculum recommendations.

August 5th 2014

-- FEMA Announces 2014-2015 Youth Preparedness Leaders --

FEMA recently announced the newest leaders on their Youth Preparedness Council. This unique organization is dedicated to increasing preparedness through organized programs and services directed at children and teens. Each council member works on a self-designed project during their term on the council as well as attends the Youth Preparedness Summit. Council members are based in the different FEMA regions.

Tiffany Espensen Assists in CERT Training

The Youth Preparedness Council is integral to implementing the goals outlined in the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Education and Building Resiliency PDF . This strategy "is a call to our Nation to educate youth about actions that they and their families can take" towards family and community preparedness and resiliency. Although children face significant vulnerabilities, children’s engagement in disaster preparedness programs can offer the following benefits:

  • "Empowered youth can help engage their families, their peers, and their communities in disaster readiness:" When children show interest in aspects of disaster preparedness, such as building emergency kits, parents learn alongside them. Children can also spread this knowledge to their communities by assuming leadership roles in their youth preparedness organizations.

  • "Youth are empowered through understanding of risks and knowing protective actions:" By participating in preparedness programming, children are more confident in a disaster.

  • "Today’s prepared students are tomorrow's prepared adults:" Youth who participate in preparedness programs at a younger age will carry those skills into adult hood.

Communities can start youth preparedness programs via the guidance of FEMA's Youth Preparedness: Implementing a Community-Based Program PDF . This guide assists leaders in identifying program resources, engaging partners, and determining curriculum for an effective youth preparedness program.

The National Center applauds communities that engage in youth preparedness programs. We hope they’ll consider NCDMPH resources when creating and implementing their preparedness programs.

July 29th 2014

-- FEMA and American Radio Relay League sign Memorandum of Agreement --

In mid-July, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the national association for amateur radio, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate signed the agreement at the ARRL National Centennial Convention in Hartford, CT.

Ham radio

The agreement formalizes the important role the amateur radio community plays when other modes of communications are disabled. FEMA and ARRL will also cooperate on providing personnel and services in order to strengthen disaster communication.

The ARRL is composed of amateur radio operators, otherwise known as hams. The ARRL considers public service, including emergency communication services, a critical part of their mission. The ARRL offers an emergency communications training for future emergency communications volunteers as well as information on equipment for ham operators.

FEMA and ARRL formal relationship began in 2003 through a signed partnership via Citizen Corps. The partnership aimed to raise awareness about amateur radio’s role in public safety.

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health congratulates FEMA and ARRL on further fortifying this unique partnership.

July 18th 2014

-- NCDMPH Announces Keynote Speakers for LDH Workshop 2014 --

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is excited to announce the two keynote speakers for the Learning in Disaster Health Workshop 2014 (LDH '14). LDH '14 is an interdisciplinary academic forum focused on education and training in disaster health. Registration for LDH '14 comes at no additional cost and will be held September 9-10, 2014 in the DC Metropolitan Area.

Update: Our new speaker for the opening keynote is Herbert Wolfe, PhD, Director, Policy and Strategic Planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, HHS. More info can be found on the workshop section of the website and also on our Workshop Biographies page.

The closing keynote will be presented by Arthur L. Kellermann, MD; MPH. Dr. Kellermann recently joined the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences as the Dean of the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine. Previously, Dr. Kellermann held the Paul-O’Neill-Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at RAND. In addition, Dr. Kellermann was a professor of emergency medicine and public health as well as associate dean for health policy at the Emery School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

The National Center thanks both Mr. Gabriel and Mr. Kellermann for dedicating their time to this event. NCDMPH looks forward to the insight and knowledge all the speakers will bring to audiences at LDH ’14.

To learn more about LDH '14, search the #LDH14 hashtag on Twitter and continue to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

July 2nd, 2014

-- CDC Release Mobile App focused on Blast Injury --

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a free mobile app focused on blast injury. iPhone and iPad users can find it in the app store under CDC Blast Injury. The app provides information for the disaster health workforce to use throughout a blast event. It addresses a variety of health providers including prehospital healthcare providers, hospital healthcare providers, and public health professionals. The app goes into detail regarding safety information for healthcare responders as well as population behavior after a blast event.

CDC Blast Injury mobile app

The app is organized into four categories:

  • Understanding Blast and Explosive Events

  • Assessing & Treating Blast Injuries

  • Tools for Healthcare Providers and Public Health Professionals

  • Quick Reference Guide

The injuries section is a detailed guide on treating a variety of injuries. Each injury section includes information on how to treat a pediatric patient with that particular injury. In addition, the app provides details on how to assess the behavioral health of patients and providers. A variety of CDC-related resources are embedded throughout all of the sections. Users can also use the provided RSS feeds which links to various CDC disaster health blogs.

This app is also accessible on the National Center's "Resilience through Learning: Explosions & Mass Gatherings" page under "Resources: Blast." The Resilience through Learning series provides event-specific content for disaster health educators and learners.

To learn more about mobile apps focused on disaster medicine and public health, visit the National Library of Medicine's Disaster Information Management Resource Group's app page.