Our Latest News and Events

October 14, 2016

-- Hurricane Mathew Aftermath --

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and many other agencies and organizations, as well as local and federal officials continue to provide additional resources and personnel to support the recovery efforts in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Hurricane Matthew has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate and abandon their homes. Many are still unable to return to their residences due to ongoing flooding from swelled rivers.

As of October 12, 2016, there have been 33 reported deaths in the US and the number continues to climb due to floodwaters still rising in some areas. Flooding is expected to continue over the next few days in North Carolina and more evacuations are on the way. Please stay safe and follow the directives of state and local officials. Recovery from this Hurricane and its aftermath flooding will be a long and slow process.

Here are some helpful resources for information on Hurricane cleanup and recovery:

Hurricane Matthew October 6, 2016

-- Prepare for Hurricane Mathew --

As of October 6, 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit multiple Caribbean countries as a category four storm, leaving over 300,000 people in shelters. Hurricane Matthew is moving northward with winds reaching 145mph and will continue to strengthen over the next couple of days.

Hurricane Matthew is due to reach Florida as a category four storm within the next 24 hours and work its way up the southeast coast. There is also a potential for the hurricane to circle around and hit Florida a second time.

Response teams are standing by ready to assist as needed. Costal evacuations have begun in Florida, Georgia and the Carolina's. Monitor the forecast in your area by logging onto CNN.com/hurricane or tune into your local news.

ALL southeast states are urged to prepare, take shelter and evacuate if ordered to do so. To stay informed download the FEMA Mobile App for weather alerts, preparations tips, and other disaster resources.

Good items to have are:

  • Nonperishable food and water enough for three days
  • Portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries
  • Mobile devices fully charged and fully charged portable device charger
  • Emergency contact information
  • Prepare your home by securing loose items that may become projectile when the wind hits
  • Have an evacuation plan

September 13, 2016

-- CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule--

On September 8, 2016 the Federal Register posted the final rule Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers. The regulation goes into effect on November 16, 2016. There are seventeen (17) health care provider and supplier types affected by this rule who must comply and implement all regulations within one year (by November 16, 2017).

The purpose of this regulation is to establish national emergency preparedness requirements to ensure adequate planning for disasters, and coordination with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems.

According to CMS, key information about this new rule includes:

  • Requirements will apply to all 17 provider and supplier types.

  • Each provider and supplier will have its own set of Emergency Preparedness regulations incorporated into its set of conditions or requirements for certification.

  • Must be in compliance with Emergency Preparedness regulations to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program. The below downloadable sections will provide additional information, such as the background and overview of the final rule and related resources.

Additional information on this Emergency Preparedness Rule can be found at:

Supplementary resources related to this rule can be found at:

August 25, 2016

-- Disaster Health Education Symposium--

With September being Preparedness month and following the Louisiana floods, Zika spread, and Western US wildfires, the Disaster Health Education Symposium on September 8th is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in emergency preparedness. Industry leaders will be presenting in the general session including David Marcozzi, MD, MHS-CL, FACEP, Associate Professor and Director of Population Health, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, and by Kobi Peleg, PhD, MPH, Director, National Center for Trauma and Emergency Medicine Research, The Gertner Institute for Health Policy and Epidemiology, Head, Disaster Medicine Department and The Executive Master Programs for Emergency and Disaster Management, School of Public Health, Tel-Aviv University.

Alongside our distinguished speakers, dozens of panel speakers will present information on Disaster Health Education and Training that Saves Lives, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Innovations in Practice, and more. There also will be poster presentations of cutting edge research on disaster preparedness and response.

Sponsored by the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the no-cost symposium will be hosted by Professor and School Dean Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH.

Read more from our Symposium Page

August 8, 2016

-- Thomas Kirsch to Lead NCDMPH--

Thomas Kirsch, MD, MPH

Dr. Thomas Kirsch, former director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, has been selected as the next director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences following a nationwide search. The announcement was made July 28, 2016, by USU President Dr. Richard Thomas.

“The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health was established in 2008 by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to develop and disseminate core curricula, education, training and research in all-hazards disaster health to enhance the security of the United States,” said Thomas. “Dr. Kirsch is exceptionally qualified to lead the Center.”

Kirsch holds a faculty appointment as a professor at the Johns Hopkins University in the Departments of Emergency Medicine (School of Medicine), International Health (Bloomberg School of Public Health) and Civil Engineering (Whiting School of Engineering).

He received his M.D. from the University of Nebraska in 1984 and an MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1986. He is a board certified emergency physician and a global expert in disaster management and science, austere medicine and health care management. He has consulted on disaster and humanitarian related issues for organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, the American and Canadian Red Cross, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Pan American Health Organization, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Kirsch has responded to many disasters from local to national and global incidents such as the earthquakes in Haiti (2010), Chile (2010) and New Zealand (2011), and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013). In 2013, he received the inaugural, ‘Disaster Science Award’ from the American College of Emergency Physicians and in 2014 the Clara Barton Award for Leadership from the American Red Cross.

Kirsch will begin his new position later this fall.

July 18, 2016

-- Info to Keep Cool, Help Others in a Heat Emergency --

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Summer scorchers can cause heat emergencies. Be sure to check out NCDMPH’s new page with resources for health professionals on how to prevent a heat emergency and what to do when presented with a heat-related medical emergency.

This list of resources includes information from leading health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They cover topics ranging from heat treatment and prevention; healthcare workforce preparedness; and the impact heat emergencies can have on the health of individuals of all ages.


June 21, 2016

-- New Report: Integration of Military and Civilian Trauma Care Systems Needed to Decrease Preventable Deaths After Injury --

A National Trauma Care System: Integrating Military and Civilian Trauma Systems to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths After Injury

Across the current military and civilian trauma care systems, the quality of trauma care varies greatly depending on when and where an individual is injured, placing lives unnecessarily at risk according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Increasing mass casualty incidents and foreign and domestic threats to homeland security lend urgency to the translation of wartime lessons to civilian trauma systems, according to the report. It also suggests that The White House should lead the integration of military and civilian trauma care to establish a national trauma care system and set an aim to achieve zero preventable deaths after injury.

The leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 46 is trauma — a disabling or life-threatening physical injury that results from an event such as a motor vehicle crash, gun violence, or fall. In 2013, trauma cost approximately $670 billion in medical care expenses and lost productivity. Of the 147,790 U.S. trauma deaths reported in 2014, as many as 20 percent may have been preventable after injury with optimal trauma care, the committee said.

June 17, 2016

-- Journal Special Issue Focuses on Superstorm Sandy --

The Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal

The Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal has published a special collection of research conducted following Superstorm Sandy. Immediately following Sandy, the New York Academy of Medicine quickly convened a group of subject matter experts to identify priority needs for research. Questions like what factors contributed to community resilience, how were health care systems impacted, and what was the effect on at-risk individuals were identified. In response, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 allocated funding to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to commission research to investigate the many areas of concern following the storm. Funding was channeled through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). From this, 31 initial projects and 13 additional companion projects were funded.

The results of some of these projects and others are featured in the June 2016 Special Issue no. 3 of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (http://bit.ly/21kEAeA). The Guest Editors for this special collection of 23 original research articles, three brief reports and more are Michael J Reilly, Center for Disaster Medicine, New York Medical College; Linda C Degutis, The Avielle Foundation; and Stephen S Morse, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, with Eric G Carbone of CDC and Marcienne M Wright of ASPR also contributing an editorial.

June 16, 2016

-- Integrating Special Needs Requirements When Establishing a Point of Dispensing --

Glenda Ford-Lee and Vicky Golightly shown in an NCDMPH video.

Persons with access and functional needs make up a significant portion of the American population. It’s imperative to address the needs of this group when developing a Point of Dispensing (POD) utilized for distributing medications or vaccines to a large number of people in the event of a public health emergency. On June 16, 2016 at 1:00 PM EDT, The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) will host Points of Dispensing for Those with Access and Functional Needs, presented by Glenda Ford-Lee, MHR, from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Service Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. This one-hour webinar will explain how those tasked with planning and establishing PODs can ensure they take into account the various resources required to serve vulnerable populations in such emergencies.

Date: June 16, 2016, 1:00 PM, ET

Access: https://usuhs.adobeconnect.com/r8dpi2siqr5

Call in: 1-888-537-7715

Participant Code: 39933371

May 3, 2016

-- Nationwide Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies on the Rise --

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released the results of its 2016 National Health Security Index which shows the United States scoring 6.7 on a 10-point scale for preparedness. This is an improvement of 3.6 percent since the index began three years ago.

Scouts learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts during a FEMA event.

The index used over 100 different measures ranging from flu vaccination rates to hazard planning for public schools and the presence of food inspection programs to compile a composite score which provides a comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s health security preparedness. The index also shows that while positive strides have been made, performance on some measures in specific states can still be improved.

"In order to keep Americans safe, we need to know how well equipped every state in the nation is to prevent and manage widespread health emergencies," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds and directs the Index. "Every sector needs a yardstick to clearly show where progress is being made and where improvement can occur. America’s health security is no exception."

NCDMPH recognizes the importance of tracking strides in emergency preparedness and applauds both the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the nation for its continued commitment to helping ensure the safety of our country.

Check YOUR state.

April 4, 2016

-- Disaster Health Education Symposium Registration Now Open --

NCDMPH is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Center’s Disaster Health Education Symposium: Innovations for Tomorrow to be held September 8, 2016 in Bethesda, MD.

The Symposium’s general session will include presentations by David Marcozzi, MD, MHS-CL, FACEP, Associate Professor and Director of Population Health, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, and by Kobi Peleg, PhD, MPH, Director, National Center for Trauma and Emergency Medicine Research, The Gertner Institute for Health Policy and Epidemiology, Head, Disaster Medicine Department and The Executive Master Programs for Emergency and Disaster Management, School of Public Health, Tel-Aviv University.

Sponsored by the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the no-cost symposium will be hosted by Professor and School Dean Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH.

The day’s breakout session topics are scheduled to include Innovations in Practice, Disaster Health Education and Training that Saves Lives, Innovations in Teaching Our Students, and Emerging Infectious Diseases. The Symposium will also feature a poster abstracts display.
To submit a poster abstract, go to: http://www.conferenceabstracts.com/DHES2016.htm.

To register for the Symposium, go to: https://hjf.cvent.com/DHES2016

March 23, 2016

--Emergency Preparedness and Children with Special Healthcare Needs --

Aiding children with special healthcare needs during a disaster requires tremendous planning and procedures development. Rita V. Burke, PhD, MPH will present a webinar on this critical topic on March 31 at 1 PM, EDT. Dr. Burke is Assistant Professor of Research Surgery and Preventive Medicine Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Update on Children with Special Healthcare Needs and Disaster Preparedness” will focus on what it takes to ensure youngsters with special healthcare needs receive continuity of care in the event of a disaster. Dr. Burke will describe the various considerations required in such an event including how to provide specialized equipment such as oxygen and special food; appropriate medication; and maintaining a back-up list of medical providers for each child affected.

NCDMPH invites you to join the webinar at http://ncdmph.adobeconnect.com/r4u3yaprgt5/. Call in number: 1-888-537-7715; Participant Code: 39933371. No pre-registration is required.

March 15, 2016

--Louisiana Flooding Declared Major Disaster --

President Barack Obama signed an order on March 13 declaring the flooding in Louisiana a major disaster. The president's declaration triggers federal aid for flood victims. To date, at least four deaths related to the flooding have been reported by the state and almost 5,000 homes have been damaged.

The Louisiana National Guard (LANG) has rescued more than 3,310 citizens, and 316 pets. The LANG has distributed more than 12,000 bottles of water, issued more than 582,000 sand bags with eight sandbag-filling machines.

Recovering from any disaster requires coordination of effort and a long-term strategy. To learn more about disaster recovery, access NCDMPH’s newest training program, Public Health System Training in Disaster Recovery (PH STriDR), designed for local public health agency workers, which focuses on individual and organizational contributions to aiding those affected by disaster.

March 7, 2016

-- Training Program for Public Health Agency Workers Focuses on Disaster Recovery --

NCDMPH is pleased to present its newest training program, Public Health System Training in Disaster Recovery (PH STriDR) designed for local public health agency workers, which focuses on individual and organizational contributions to disaster recovery.

Through four 90-minute, interactive, face-to-face sessions, this training program introduces: the concept of community disaster recovery; the disaster recovery roles of the local public health agency and the individuals who work within it; and potential personal/family and workplace considerations in the recovery phase. It also provides an opportunity for learners to create a vision of successful disaster recovery in their agency and community.

PH STriDR also features a 4-1/2 minute video which examines how the increase in disaster frequency and severity inspired the development of the program, and the key role local public health agencies play before, during and after a disaster. The program also includes materials for trainers and materials for learners.

The PH STriDR Trainer Materials include: a trainer guide, four PowerPoint presentations with Trainer Notes (one for each session); four Learner worksheets (one for each session); a Master Copy of Session 1: Disaster Recovery Activities Worksheet; and a link to the informational handout for Self Care (Tips for a Survivor of a Disaster or Traumatic Event).

The PH STriDR Learner Materials include: four PowerPoint presentations (one for each session), four Learner worksheets (one for each session), a link to the informational handout for Self Care (Tips for a Survivor of a Disaster or Traumatic Event) and online links to additional resources.

February 25, 2016

-- Wireless System Aids Emergency Responders in HAZMAT Incidents --

The recent well failure at Southern California Gas Co.'s huge Aliso Canyon storage facility reminds everyone in the disaster medicine and public health field of the importance of having timely and accurate information about hazardous materials and how to deal with them.

The National Library of Medicine’s WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) is a system designed to assist emergency responders in hazardous material incidents. WISER provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, human health information, and containment and suppression guidance.

WISER’s features include:

  • Rapid access to the most important information about a hazardous substance
  • Intuitive, simple, logical user interface developed by working with experienced first responders
  • Comprehensive decision support, including assistance in identification of an unknown chemical or chemical syndrome and guidance on the immediate actions necessary to save lives and protect the environment

WISER operates in a stand-alone mode on Microsoft® Windows® PCs, Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch), Google Android devices, and BlackBerry devices (internet connectivity required). WISER is also available in PC and mobile device based Internet browsers (WebWISER).

February 9, 2016

-- NCDMPH Unveils New Access and Functional Needs Video Series --

NCDMPH has launched a new video series spotlighting how health professionals and communities with access and functional needs are working together on disaster preparedness.

The first of these videos is “It’s Empowering the Community.” It features Glenda Ford-Lee, MHR, Statewide At-Risk Populations Coordinator at the Emergency Preparedness and Response Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health; and Vicky Golightly of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Ford-Lee and Golightly discuss how they have worked together to promote emergency preparedness to persons with access and functional needs, specifically persons who are blind or have low vision.

“Strong and meaningful partnerships between health professionals and communities with access and functional needs are critical to successfully meeting the needs of all community members during a disaster,” says Brian Altman, PhD, NCDMPH’s Education Director. “This video demonstrates an exceptional example of these two groups coming together to share knowledge about their specific areas of expertise and how this information can be integrated to enhance emergency preparedness plans.”

Persons with access and functional needs include people with disabilities, those who live in institutionalized settings, the elderly, children, people with limited English proficiency/non-English speakers, and those who are transportation-disadvantaged. Public health workers, first responders, nurses and physicians will find these videos of particular interest.

January 29, 2016

-- Zika Virus Becoming Increasing Concern to Public Health Organizations --

The Zika virus is becoming an increasing concern to national and international health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). However, it is the suggested possible relationship between the virus and a neurological birth disorder in addition to the rapid spread of the virus across the globe that is most alarming to health officials. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.

The WHO estimates 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year. The CDC is warning pregnant women against travel to 24 countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Health officials in several of these countries are telling female citizens to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases for up to two years.

NCDMPH encourages all health professionals to access Library of Medicine Zika Virus Health Information Resources to keep up with the most current information about the virus.

January 17, 2016

-- Preparation for Environmental Disasters Is a 365-Day-a-Year Challenge --

An environmental disaster is a disaster to the natural environment due to human activity, which distinguishes it from the concept of a natural disaster. It is also distinct from intentional acts of war such as nuclear bombings. Other environmental disasters include those involving radiation, air pollution, power outages, and hazardous materials.

Forklift operator unloads pallet of FEMA-supplied water in an Ames, Iowa.

A timely example of an environmental disaster is currently taking place in Michigan. Last week, federal emergency aid was made available to the state to supplement state and local response efforts in the area affected by contaminated water. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship caused by the emergency on the local population. FEMA is providing water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items. Another chemical incident is currently taking place in California where a natural gas leak at the Southern California Gas Company Aliso Canyon Facility is affecting the Porter Ranch neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Resources concerning the presence of lead in the Flint water system compiled by SIS and the Greater Midwest Regional Medical Library.
Aliso Canyon gas leak resources from the Pacific Southwest Regional Medical Library.
Aliso Canyon gas leak resources  PDF  from the National Library of Medicine.

Usually, little or no warning precedes environmental disasters. However, there are resources available to help prepare for and respond to such incidents. NCDMPH encourages health educators, health care workers and the general population to access a variety of resources available at www.ready.gov. NCDMPH also has a host of resources for disaster recovery.

January 12, 2016

-- AAP: Stockpile of Meds for Children in Disasters Falls Short of Requirements --

FEMA worker aids child after Hurricane Marilyn.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued an important policy statement PDF  noting the deficit of medical countermeasures (MCMs) available to aid children during a disaster. These include vaccines and pharmaceuticals, particularly those in appropriate pediatric formulations.

The AAP concludes that while children represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, they are affected disproportionately by most disasters and public health emergencies. The organization recommends that the nation ready itself by stockpiling appropriate medication formulations for children, such as liquids, and age- or size-based dosing instructions in order to the fill the existing supply gap. More research into the effectiveness and safety of the emergency use of unapproved drugs and devices for children is also required.

The NCDMPH supports these critical recommendations, and has compiled pediatric disaster preparedness resources for use by health educators, practitioners and the general public.

January 5, 2016

-- Midwestern Rivers Flooding Reminds Us: Turn Around, Don't Drown.® --

Turn Around, Don’t Drown.®

The new year has brought major flooding across America's heartland which will be around for weeks to come as Midwestern rivers surges south. According to CNN, as of January 4, rising waters and storms have killed more than two dozen people in Missouri and Illinois.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Ready campaign offer the following tips for persons affected by flooding:

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.

  • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.

  • Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Access more resources about coping with flooding as the result of a natural disaster.

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