Our Latest News and Events.

A PDF version of our 2014 Summer Newsletter   is now available. An HTML version is available from the menu on the left.

-- 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.

Edward J. Gabriel, MPA, EMT-P, CEM, CBCP will give the opening keynote. Mr. Gabriel is currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. In this capacity, Mr. Gabriel supports HHS in their programs, policies, and activities related to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. In addition, Mr. Gabriel also serves on the National Advisory Council for FEMA.

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.

June 25th, 2014

-- Staying Safe in Extreme Heat --

This past Wednesday, the first two heat-related deaths of the summer in Maryland were reported by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As the warmer summer months are upon us, it is important to review safety precautions necessary in extreme heat. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene warn of three different types of heat-related illness.

Summer Heat

Heat Cramps: Short and severe muscle cramps typically in the leg, arm, or abdomen. These occur when heavy sweating uses up the body’s supply of salts. When these cramps occur, stop all activity for several hours and seek out a cool area. Drink water, coconut water, or sports drink. Do not consume anything with alcohol or caffeine. Call medical help if the cramp occurs for more than one hour.

Heat Exhaustion: It is important to note that heat cramps can also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. In addition to cramps, symptoms of heat exhaustion include extreme thirst, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, and rapid breathing. If you believe you have heat exhaustion, hydrate, bathe or shower in cold water, go to an air conditioned environment like a cooling center, and wear light-weighted clothing.

Heat Stroke: Sufferers of heat stroke may show symptoms like seizing, fainting, dry heaving and vomiting. Call 911 if you or someone near you is experience a heat stroke, call 911 and then move that person into a shady or cool area.

Children, people over 65, young athletes, and people with specific health conditions are particularly at risk for heat related illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on how to keep cool this summer.

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health wishes everyone a safe and fun summer season. Follow the NCDMPH Twitter account for information for more tips on how to keep cool this summer.

June 19th, 2014

-- Two Twin Twister Events Devastate Midwestern Communities --

On June 16th, two tornadoes touched down in Pilger, Nebraska and devastated the town of 350. In addition to the destruction of the local firehouse, two deaths were reported and 16 are critically injured. Just one day later, more twisters arrived in northeastern Nebraska. Governor Dave Heinemann declared a state of emergency. Tornadoes are already rare in Pilger, let alone twin tornadoes which are already an uncommon phenomenon.

Tornadoes - Latitudes-Longitudes

Pilger was not the only community impacted by twin twisters this week. Double funnels touched down around the community of Crow Lake, South Dakota. Tornadoes also struck in Wessington Springs and destroyed farms, homes, and businesses.

Also on Monday night, a tornado touched down in the communities outside Madison, Wisconsin. There were no reported deaths, but many houses were irreparably damaged. In addition, severe weather and multiple tornadoes were reported in Iowa and North Dakota.

This severe weather arrived a week after the release of a study mapping the latitude and longitudes of areas that receive the most tornado touchdowns. The study, conducted by Tim Brice, analyzed National Weather Service tornado data from 1950-2013. In that time span, more than 2,000 tornadoes were seen in the middle of the Great Plains (98 degrees longitude). In regards to latitude, the Nebraska/Kansas border (near 40 degrees north) saw approximately 500 tornadoes.

Some of the tornadoes that occurred this week do not overlap with Brice’s map, which highlights the importance of disaster readiness everywhere. Even if a region is not in the highest risk area, the local population still needs to be prepared for severe weather events. The National Center can assist in this effort through our Resilience through Learning page that offers resources to assist educators and trainers in tornado preparedness.

The National Center wishes everyone safety during severe weather this summer. Continue to learn more about severe weather preparedness and resources by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

June 11th, 2014

-- NCDMPH cosponsors Public Health Track at the Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium --

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health recently cosponsored the first-ever public health track at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute's 16th Emergency Management Annual Higher Education Symposium. NCDMPH partnered with faculty from the Boston University School of Medicine Healthcare Emergency Management (BU HEM) program.

FEMA at Emmitsburg, MD

"The purpose of cosponsoring the track was to engage emergency managers and faculties that sponsor training programs to incorporate health sector issues into emergency and disaster management," said NCDMPH Acting Director Dr. Kenneth Schor.

The content of the Public Health Track benefited from the academic strength and experience of both NCDMPH and BU HEM. NCDMPH and BU HEM collaborated on selecting topics, identifying speakers and reviewing submitted proposals from the general symposium submission process.

Through this collaboration, BU HEM and NCDMPH developed the following three sessions:

  • "Practical Preparedness: Mass Gathering Medical Planning," presented by

    • Seth Virgin, Firefighter/HAZMAT/CBRNe Specialist of Ottawa Fire Services

    • Brent Hamula, ATC, CSCS, Sports Medicine Consultant

    • Gregory Bond, MS, EMT, Instructor at BU HEM

  • "Hybrid Exercises: A New Community Learning Tool," presented by

    • Gregory Bond, MS, EMT,

    • Kevin Thomas, PhD, MBA, Program Director at BU HEM

    • Kenneth Schor, DO, MPH, FAFFP

    • Brian Altman, PhD, Education Coordinator at NCDMPH

  • "Ongoing Innovations in Disaster Health" presented by

    • Ilya Plotkin, Assistant Director, TRAIN at the Public Health Foundation

    • CDR Jonathan White, PhD, LCSW-C, Deputy Director at the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response, Administration for Children and Families

NCDMPH appreciates the invitation from the Emergency Management Institute to sponsor a Public Health Track and looks forward to future ongoing collaboration. NCDMPH also extends its gratitude to BU HEM for their valued partnership in this effort.

June 5th, 2014

-- Preparedness still important in mild hurricane season --

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season kicked off at the start of June. Due to the forecasted development of El Niño, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center anticipates 8-13 named storms of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes. Typically, El Niño reduces the severity of storms with its strong trade winds. El Ñino is not a guarantee, so detailed personal preparedness efforts should still remain.

Hurricane Plan

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30 and preparedness efforts should begin immediately. Make a family disaster plan, stock up on water and non-perishable food to last three days, and keep print copies of all important insurance and personal information in a zip lock bag. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more preparedness information for both before and after a storm.

If you are an educator or trainer in the disaster health workforce, peruse our Resilience through Learning page on Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones. This page addresses a large variety of needs by offering links that can support training as well as self-education. The National Center will also use this page to post information on hurricanes that impact the United States this season.

NOAA can assist hurricane season planning this summer via several new products including a Potential Flood Surge Map PDF. The map will track the areas at risk for flooding on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The tool will predict where storm surge will occur as well as the height of the water above ground. Maps will be released alongside tropical storm and hurricane watches.

The National Center wishes everyone a safe summer and hurricane season. For more information on severe weather this summer, follow NCDMPH on Twitter @NCDMPH and Facebook.

May 28th, 2014

-- National Library of Medicine Opportunities for Outreach & Collaboration Grants --

The National Library of Medicine's Disaster Information Management Research Center (NLM DIMRC) recently launched their Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Project 2014. The purpose of the project is to increase communication and collaboration between organizations and libraries in communities as well as fund innovative solutions to disaster information problems. NLM DIMRC is currently receiving proposals for libraries and organizations that collaborate or partner on projects that aim to improve disaster medicine and public health information access for the disaster health workforce.

Projects must involve two or more of the following information access categories:

  • Information needs assessment;

  • Roles in providing disaster health information;

  • Practices and methods in information sharing;

  • Skills development;

  • Information retrieval;

  • Resources development; and/or

  • Document access

Awards are offered for a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $30,000 for a one-year project. Proposals are due to NLM on June 19, 2014. NLM recently recorded a webinar explaining the application process.

This will be the fourth year NLM DIMRC has accepted grant proposals. Last year's grantees featured projects that focused on the following: developing cross trainings for librarians and healthcare providers; improving awareness and availability of NLM disaster resources to librarians and the health workforce; and improving access to equipment Emergency Management needs in a crisis. For more information on this project, follow NLM DIMRC on Twitter @NLM_DIMRC.

May 21st, 2014

-- NCDMPH Webinar Coincides with National EMS Week --

This week the National Center joins the American College of Emergency Physicians in acknowledging the dedication of the Nation's emergency medical service professionals during National EMS Week. The National Center is participating in this week via a webinar that acknowledges the behavioral health needs of first responders in a disaster.


NCDMPH invites those celebrating National EMS week to attend Thursday's webinar on "Promoting Resilience in Disaster First Responders: A Psychological First Aid-Based Approach" at 1:00 p.m. ET presented by Dr. David M. Benedek from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

"Promoting Resilience in Disaster First Responders" will discuss mental health resilience before, during, and after a disaster. Attendees will learn about the principles of psychological first aid as well mobile resources to take into the field. This event also offers a unique opportunity to converse with a scholar knowledgeable in the field of disaster medicine and behavioral health. The recording of this webinar will be available on the NCDMPH webinar webpage by the end of this week.

Many other organizations are also taking part in National EMS Week. Please click on the links below to learn about the variety of efforts occurring across the nation:

Continue to follow NCDMPH on Facebook and Twitter for more resources related to National EMS Week.

May 9th, 2014

-- NCDMPH Releases "Radiation Disaster Issues in Children: A Case-Based Activity" --

The activity scenario is the detonation of an improvised nuclear device (IND)

NCDMPH announces the launch of a CME accredited case-based activity complementary to the previously released primer, Radiation Disaster Issues in Children: An Approach to the Patient. Similar to the primer, this new activity discusses the unique needs of pediatric patients during and after exposure to radiological disaster. This activity is accredited for continuing education for physicians and nurses.

The activity presents a scenario in which an improvised nuclear device (IND)is detonated in a medium-sized city. There are three pediatric case examples which highlight patient management. The lesson has a practical focus and raises awareness of algorithms and other resources that can be used in patient management during and after a radiological disaster.

The learning activity centers on the following learning objectives:

  1. Gather subjective and objective data from the patient, family, and relevant response authorities to initially risk stratify pediatric patients

  2. Describe the use of Radiation Emergency Medical Management: REMM (US Department of Health and Human Services) algorithms to evaluate a pediatric patient who may be exposed to and/or contaminated by radiation

  3. Provide basic safety anticipatory guidance to pediatric patients and their families

NCDMPH Acting Director Kenneth Schor, DO, MPH and Project Associate Thomas Fitzgerald, MPH authored the lesson. Please visit NCDMPH's Online Learning page for other accredited and pediatric-focused online lessons.

April 29th, 2014

-- Tornadoes & Severe Weather Devastates Plains, Midwestern, and Southern States --

Severe thunderstorms and two tornadoes tore through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Iowa. The deadliest of the storms was the EF3 tornado that leveled much of Vilonia, a Tornado suburban community located outside of Little Rock. The tornado left 80-miles of destruction in its wake which included 18 fatalities and nearly 18,000 homes and businesses without power. Arkansas is no stranger to severe storms. A thunderstorm left 10 people dead in the state three years ago.

Another tornado in Oklahoma and severe weather in Iowa resulted in two more fatalities. The National Weather Service forecasts that more severe weather will occur throughout Monday, with storms lasting into the night across several southern and eastern states.

The National Center supports the emergency responders working in the affected region. NCDMPH has several resources that responders and survivors may find useful in the wake of Sunday's storms.

NCDMPH extends its thoughts to the communities impacted by past and upcoming severe weather.

April 23rd, 2014

-- Learning in Disaster Health 2014: Registration & Calls for Abstracts Open --

The National Center is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the 2014 Learning in Disaster Health Workshop (LDH 14) in the DC Metropolitan area on September 9-10, 2014! This event is the only National workshop of its kind that addresses learning and disaster health. Ensure your place by registering at no cost today.

LDH 14 will feature National experts leading sessions on:

  • Inter-professional Disaster Education Practices

  • Disaster Behavioral Health

  • Enhancing Recovery through Learning, Education and Training

  • Showcase of Practices: A Roundtable Networking Session

  • Expanding the Disaster Workforce through Volunteers

  • Learning to Build Resilience at the Neighborhood Level

Photo from LDH13

The National Center currently welcomes the submission of poster abstracts for the display at LDH 14. Accepted posters will be reviewed at the workshop by a poster review committee. Winners will have the chance to present in the NCDMPH's webinar series. Abstract submission information can be found on the workshop website.

Continue to visit ncdmph.usuhs.edu and follow us on Facebook & Twitter using the #LDH14 hashtag to hear about the latest announcements regarding this unique interdisciplinary event.

April 10th, 2014

-- National Center resources can help prepare for severe spring weather --

Spring has arrived, bringing with it new severe weather risks traditionally associated with the season. Earlier this week, storms flooded the Mississippi in Alabama and Georgia which led to flash floods, power outages in over 11,000 homes and businesses, and closed roads. This weekend will bring more challenges with severe thunderstorms and weather projected to occur from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains.

Man responds to victims affected by flood

The lull before the storm is the perfect opportunity to stock your emergency kit and review the safety procedures for before and after a storm. Those already affected by floods need to exercise caution when reentering a flooded home in order to reduce health related risks associated with flooding.

The National Center has resources for the disaster health workforce that is preparing their response to these weather events. "Resilience through Learning: Tornadoes" and "Resilience through Learning: Hurricanes and Typhoons" are resource guides that provide disaster health educators and learners with tools to prepare and respond to severe weather events. Learners that visit these pages will find resources that specifically address unique issues inherent in severe weather events.

Within these resource guides, learners will find the Center's online lesson "Tracking and Reunification of Children in Disasters." With this lesson, responders and volunteers can assist in responding to the needs of an unaccompanied child. By filling out the Tracking and Reunification reference card before the storms arrive, responders can easily access key information needed to reunite unaccompanied children with their parent or guardian.

NCDMPH extends its thoughts to those still recovering in Alabama and Georgia. In addition, the Center thanks the disaster workforce and volunteers assisting in the response effort.

April 2nd, 2014

-- NCDMPH Publishes Paper on Disaster Health Competencies in DMPHP --

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health's Senior Research Associate Lauren Walsh, MPH, Education Coordinator Brian A. Altman, PhD, and Operations Director Kandra Strauss-Riggs, MPH published in the February 2014 edition of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness the article, "Enhancing the Translation of Disaster Health Competencies into Practice" (2014; 8: 70-78). Richard V. King, PhD is also an author on the paper. Dr. King, Associate Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center,  PDF  presented at Learning in Disaster Health: A Continuing Education Workshop as well as in the Center's disaster learning webinar series.

Figure: "Revised Framework for the Articulation of Competency Sets for Disaster Health Professionals"
Walsh, et al, "Enhancing the Translation of Disaster Health Competencies into Practice."
Disaster Med and Public Health Prep. 2014: 8: 70-78.
Copyright @ 2014 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health.
"Revised Framework for the Articulation of Competency Sets for Disaster Health Professionals"

The article explores discrepancies in the 2012 pyramid learning framework from the article "Core Competencies for Disaster Medicine and Public Health" (2012; 6: 44-52) by categorizing 35 different disaster health competency sets within the four levels of the original competency framework. The framework is designed to accommodate all disaster health competencies, however only 10 of the 35 chosen competency sets were classified with consistency in the four levels.

The authors used the inconsistencies to develop a modified pyramid that better accommodates a wide variety of disaster health competency sets. The revised pyramid is divided into the following areas:

  • Core Level: Competencies for all disaster health learners

  • Profession Level: Competencies for specific professions or groups of professions within the disaster health workforce

  • Organizational Level: Competencies for multi-professional agencies or organizations

  • Specialist Level: Competencies for disaster health specialists

  • Deployment Level: Competencies for highly specialized workers

The full-text of the article is now available from the NCDMPH website: "Enhancing the Translation of Disaster Health Competencies into Practice  PDF ".