Speaker Bios

Mangwi Atia is the Senior Program Manager, Strategy and Planning at Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC). She identifies, develops, implements and evaluates large-scale initiatives that realize growth opportunities, transformation, strategic partnerships and stakeholder engagement. Atia’s career trajectory involves her guiding organizations and teams toward success: She transforms vision into action and results. Atia honed her leadership, analytical and organizational skills while making a major impact at University of Virginia, University of Southern California, Downton Berkeley YMCA and University of California—Santa Cruz. Her acumen in creating opportunities for long-term value is attributed to her interdisciplinary background. Atia received her Bachelor’s degree in Global Economics from University of California—Santa Cruz and Master’s degree in Education from University of Virginia. She was a recipient of scholarships and fellowships, including National Library of Medicine, Lumina Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, AmeriCorps and other prestigious awards.
 
Alice Busch is the Division Chief of Operations and is responsible for managing the office’s training, exercise, duty officer, and community preparedness programs. She is also responsible for ensuring overall operational readiness, and the staffing, and management of the Multnomah County Emergency Operations Center. She started her career in the fire service in 1991. During her 21 years with the fire department, Busch served as an Emergency Manager, Emergency Medical Technician, Public Information and Education Officer, Social Services Liaison, Critical Incident Stress Manager, Fire Inspector, and Fire Investigator. Prior to her roles with MCEM, Busch worked as an Emergency Manager for the Department of County Human Services (DCHS). Her work involved Mass Care and Sheltering, Continuity of Operations, Disaster Behavioral Health, and Donations and Volunteer Management planning.  Busch has completed numerous federal, state and local disaster courses, holds a Bachelor’s in Communications/Advertising, and is currently pursuing an Executive Masters degree in Public Administration. Busch’s service has spanned a breadth of Incident Command positions on both exercises and incidents and brings her contagious enthusiasm for disaster resilience with her to every meeting and presentation.
 
David Canavan has served as a Community Development Technical Assistance provider since 2005. Currently, Canavan leads disaster technical assistance provisions for the SNAPS Office. He has managed teams both onsite and remotely in response to major disasters, supporting the impacted Continua of Care. Canavan provides guidance on issues related to disaster, security, and complex systems governance. He is a subject matter expert on the adoption of the Equal Access Rule for the SNAPS Office portfolio of programs, he has led the implementation of many HMIS around the country and internationally, and he assisted the CDC and FEMA to better understand the impact of disasters on households that are homeless or precariously housed. Canavan is certified to provide CoC technical assistance by HUD.
 
Barbara Citarella is the founder of the award-winning RBC Limited, a healthcare and management company specializing in healthcare operations including home care and hospice. She has worked extensively in corporate compliance, accreditation, infection control, disaster preparedness, strategic planning and leadership. She was part of the DHS’ committee to re-write the DHS/FEMA Disaster Preparedness Guidelines for People with Special Needs, and was recently appointed as the Chairperson of the National Ebola Taskforce. She has served as a subject matter expert on pandemic flu for the CDC, AMA and AHRQ, and was a contributing member to the AHRQ’s document on “Home Health Care and the Pandemic Flu.” She was also a member of APIC’s (Association of Practitioners in Infection Control) Emergency Disaster Planning committee. She has been appointed to several committees and panels of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and has served as an expert panel member and consultant for discussions with members of Congress. Citarella is a professional RN with an MSN from Pace University. She is a founding member of the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. She is a contributing author to The Handbook for Home Health Care Administration.
 
Maria Claver’s work with VEMEC as a Senior Investigator focuses on the nation’s 142 VA Home-Based Primary Care programs (HBPC) that serve more than 37,000 homebound veterans. Her work helps home health agencies to better serve patients that may be at heightened risk during disasters by providing them with tools that improve the preparedness of these individuals, which also address agency needs for accreditation and other preparedness requirements. Claver has worked on the development and pilot-testing of an HBPC patient assessment tool for disaster preparedness. A toolkit co-developed by Claver has helped HBPC practitioners across the US provide valuable information about preparedness to their patients in a cost-efficient manner. Her prior work includes an examination of nursing home evacuations following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Claver received her PhD in Social Welfare and her Masters in Social Welfare with a specialization in older adults from the University of California, Los Angeles.
 
David Cobbins is a lead writer and content developer for University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technologies. He holds a bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California.  He served in the United States Army from 2004 to 2010, and was honorably discharged as a Non-Commissioned Officer. In his current role he works on a number of projects involving virtual reality, computer simulation and filmmaking sponsored by the US Military. He previously worked for Warner Brothers Television, Black Entertainment Television, and Industry Entertainment Management.
 
Mary Connelly is an Emergency Management Technical Applications and Training Manager working with federal agencies to develop technical solutions and data-sharing resources to support emergency preparedness and response. Connelly supports performance measurement as a component of a comprehensive program evaluation strategy using data-sharing resources to enable better communication of program performance to various internal and external stakeholders and to inform continuous program improvement. Connelly has worked closely with the VHA Office of Emergency Management to develop the VHA Performance Improvement Management System (VHA PIMS). VHA PIMS is the primary tool used throughout VHA to support continuous improvement in emergency management. Connelly is a certified Master Exercise Practitioner and is experienced with emergency management exercise development, assessment, and evaluation.

Claudia Der-Martirosian is trained as a sociologist and a research methodologist with over 20 years of research experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods. She serves as the Associate Director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) in the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She guides VEMEC’s research staff to plan and implement research projects on disaster resilience, access to care and its impact on health for our Nation’s Veterans during major crises. She has first-authored and co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and one book publication in health-related fields including public health, disaster preparedness, health services, health sciences, public health dentistry, medical education as well as immigration studies. She received her PhD from the Department of Sociology at UCLA with an emphasis on quantitative research methods.

Aram Dobalian is the Founding Director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Professor and Director of the Division of Health Systems Management and Policy at the University of Memphis School of Public Health. His research focuses on public health emergency preparedness, including the development of performance metrics, community health resilience, crisis leadership and management, healthcare facility evacuation, the role of information technology in disaster management, disaster behavioral health, and workforce readiness. VEMEC is the only research center focused on developing evidence-based practices and training that support VA’s emergency management responsibilities – ensuring timely access to high-quality care for veterans during disasters, and supporting local emergency management and homeland security efforts during disasters. He is a member of the Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
 
Jacqueline “Jackie” Fickel is an Investigator with the VA HSR&D Center of Innovation, Los Angeles.  Her interests focus on researcher-practitioner partnerships for implementation and evaluation of quality of care improvement activities.  Research methods include a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques.  Since joining VA HSR&D in 2003, Fickel has participated in multi-site implementation projects for mental health services in VA primary care clinics, interdisciplinary quality improvement in patient-centered medical home (PACT) primary care clinics, evaluation of VA emergency response, and use of GIS maps by VA Home-Based Primary Care programs.  Prior experiences include work on state health care programs and anti-hunger policy, and teaching at Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin.  She has a PhD in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
 
Arthur “Art” French graduated with High Honors from the US Coast Guard Academy with a B.S. degree in physics in 1973. After seven years as a Coast Guard surface operations officer, including overseas assignments in Antarctica and Japan, he transferred to the US Public Health Service, graduating in 1984 from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine. French was the Deputy Chief Medical Officer member for the National Disaster Medical System PHS-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He made numerous disaster deployments, including the mass patient evacuation at New Orleans Airport during Hurricane Katrina. He was selected as the PHS Commissioned Corps Physician Responder of the Year in 2008 and was awarded the PHS Outstanding Service Medal for his career achievements in disaster preparedness and response. He is board certified in emergency medicine and has an MS degree in Healthcare Simulation from the University of San Francisco.
 
James “Jim” Geiling currently serves as Consulting Physician in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine for the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center in Arusha, Tanzania. He also serves as attending Intensivist and Hospitalist at the White River Junction, VT Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he previously served 14 years as Chief of the Medical Service. Following his undergraduate education at Bucknell University, he attended the Uniformed Services University where he received his MD. He then embarked upon a 25-year career in the US Army. He completed his training in Internal Medicine in San Francisco and later Critical Care Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also studied disaster preparedness at the DHHS’ Office of Emergency Preparedness. In 2000 he assumed command of the medical clinic in the Pentagon, where he was called upon on September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attack. He is also a Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In 2010 he led a critical care, disaster-response team to Port Au Prince, Haiti. He completed an MPH in 2014 from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. He has also served as Co-Director of Dartmouth’s New England Center for Emergency Preparedness.
 
June Gin is a Research Health Scientist at Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC). She creates resources that enable community-based organizations (CBOs) serving vulnerable populations to become disaster resilient. She leads two projects: 1) a multiagency effort to produce a toolkit: Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience, enabling communities and homeless service providers to address the response and recovery needs of homeless individuals; and 2) a study on disaster preparedness in Los Angeles County homeless shelters and transitional housing. Gin is also working on a project examining the experience of individuals who were homeless during Hurricane Sandy, to better understand how their connection to CBOs played a role in their long-term housing outcomes. Previously, Gin served as community research and outreach manager at the Bay Area Preparedness Initiative (BayPrep). She piloted an outreach program to increase the disaster preparedness of safety-net providers serving vulnerable populations.
 
Natalie Gravier is a Visual Designer at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. She currently works on UI and UX design and art for ICT’s Modeling, Simulation and Training group. Before joining ICT, Gravier was the art director at Otherworld Interactive, a VR gaming startup, for several award-winning titles. Her work in VR was exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2016 and in 2017, she was selected by Forbes as one of their “Top 30 under 30” in Games. She received her MFA in Interactive Media and Game Design from USC, where she was awarded a scholarship by Facebook to pursue her thesis in VR, and her BA in Animation from the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Farhad “Fred” Hagigi is Deputy Director for Education, Research & Training at the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), where he focuses on educational, training, and management strategies among VA and non-VA health systems concerning surge and care coordination in the event of disasters and emergencies. Hagigi is also Professor of Healthcare Finance and Management at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, and serves as Director of Global Health Initiatives in the Department of Family Medicine. He holds a joint appointment at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and various international visiting faculty appointments. His work and teaching are at the nexus of engineering, business, and healthcare, applying systems analysis to organizational strategy and management. He was instrumental in establishing the Africa Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) Collaborative, a coalition of academic, private, and public stakeholders focused on emergency medicine in sub-Sahara Africa, and has been involved with training programs, demonstrations, and evaluations of emergency response in sub-Sahara Africa. Hagigi received degrees in Industrial Engineering-Management and Finance from the University of Utah, his MBA from Texas A&M University, his MPH and DrPH in Healthcare Management & Policy from UCLA, and his PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA.
 
Monique Imroth has worked in the emergency management field for over 20 years and is currently leads the University of California, San Diego Health’s emergency management program, which encompasses 4 medical centers, including a level 1 trauma center and the regional burn center, along with a cancer specialty center and numerous offsite medical office buildings. Imroth serves on multiple committees related to emergency management and is the co-chair of the San Diego Health Care Disaster Coalition.
 
Derrick Kranke is a Health Science Specialist at Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), US Department of Veterans Affairs. His role includes providing qualitative consultation on projects, and assessing the subjective experience of ‘differentness’ among populations across the lifespan. His recent scholarship on Veteran volunteers in Team Rubicon—a disaster relief organization consisting of mostly post9/11 Veterans--identifies unique factors that promote empowerment and resilience among US Veterans to overcome mental health issues. He earned his PhD in Social Welfare from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS), Case Western Reserve University. Kranke is also an Adjunct Lecturer with the University of Southern California (USC), Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
 
Sherline Lee is an epidemiologist in the Division of State and Local Readiness, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lee has worked at CDC for eighteen years on a variety of topics, including waterborne disease outbreaks, HIV-associated opportunity infections, healthcare facility surveillance, and healthcare preparedness. She has also participated in CDC emergency responses for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014-2015 Ebola response. Since 2005, Lee has worked with healthcare partners to identify gaps in planning and coordination and then develop tools based on those gaps, including the Community Planning Framework for Healthcare Preparedness. She has co-produced many tools at http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/healthcare/planning.htm. Lee holds a Master of Public Health with an Infectious Diseases concentration from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
 
Cheryl Levine is the Lead for At-Risk Individuals at HHS/ASPR. She provides subject matter expertise, gathers and disseminates promising practices, monitors emerging issues, and coordinates internal and external partners to integrate the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals into public health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities.  She convenes federal interagency committees and leads national calls and webinars to disseminate guidance.  Examples of at-risk individuals with access and functional needs includes children, pregnant women, older adults, people with disabilities, people with chronic or temporary health conditions, people with limited English proficiency, low literacy or additional communication needs, people with very low incomes, people without access to transportation, and individuals experiencing homelessness. Her expertise includes policy development and implementation, research and evaluation methods, survey design, providing data driven solutions to policy questions, experience researching disaster housing recovery programs and quality of life indicators for disaster victims.
 
Elizabeth McMahon is a licensed psychologist specializing in treating panic, phobias, stress, and anxiety. For over 30 years, she worked at Kaiser-Permanente Psychiatry Department in Fremont, CA providing crisis intervention and triage, offering evening and weekend on-call psychiatric services to the emergency room, running crisis groups, and creating and leading groups for panic, anxiety, stress and other issues. She provided on-site crisis counseling in 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake and on 9-11 to a company who had lost employees in the terrorist attacks. Now in private practice in San Francisco, she specializes in brief, effective therapy for panic, anxiety, fears, burnout, and stress, offers virtual reality exposure therapy for phobias, and teaches positive psychology skills to increase personal happiness and effectiveness. With Schmitz, she co-developed the “Psychological First Aid for Volunteer Responders” training curriculum for SF Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams. She has co-led train-the trainer programs and led training in Psychological First Aid skills to community groups throughout the greater SF Bay area. She also lectures on increasing compliance, avoiding burnout, improving quality of life and happiness, uses of virtual reality in psychotherapy, and stress management.
 
Nicholas A Nelson is Project Manager, Hospital Preparedness Program, Bureau of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health, and is responsible for preparedness of Chicago healthcare system’s 35 hospitals, 28 emergency departments, and many other healthcare partners. Nelson is an emergency and critical care transport nurse, educator, and paramedic, and is board certified in emergency, pediatric emergency, trauma, transport, and adult acute and critical care nursing. He has authored, consulted, and presented throughout the country on the topics of emergency nursing practice, nursing education, injury prevention, and disaster preparedness. Nelson volunteers as a humanitarian nurse for international medical trips. He earned a graduate degree from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, nursing degree from Harper College, and undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University. Nelson serves as the Illinois Emergency Nurses Association 2017-2018 President.
 
Dennis Olson joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in August 2009 as an Area Emergency Manager where he established a new Federal Coordinating Center (FCC) for the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) at the VA Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. His responsibilities include managing day-to-day operations, planning and coordinating NDMS patient reception area for the Boise FCC and providing comprehensive emergency management program assistance to leaders and emergency managers at the Boise, Spokane, and Walla Walla VA Medical Centers. As a member of the VHA Emergency Management Capability Assessment Program (EMCAP) Phase III development team, Olson assisted with a complete review and redesign of the emergency management assessment program and served as lead for the EMCAP application development within VHA's Performance Improvement Management System (PIMS). Olson also helped with a complete review and revision of the assessment capabilities and criteria, and updating of all program and assessment documentation, and developing, planning, as well as training assessors.
 
Jonna Papaefthimiou is the Planning and Community Resilience Manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.  She coordinates citywide planning for emergency response, continuity of operations, hazard mitigation, and disaster recovery; she works in the City’s Emergency Coordination Center during real incidents.  She also supervises the bureau’s community resilience team, which includes volunteer programs and overall community outreach.  Papaefthimiou has previously worked as a community organizer, land-use planner, and political policy advisor. She has BS in Urban Studies and in Writing, and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
 
Tiffany Radcliff is an Associate Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include health economics, health services research, and research methodology. As a part-time research scientist for the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), she has been engaged in several research and operations projects. Recently, she completed initial development of metrics to assess recover and resiliency in ambulatory care services around disasters in VA clinics and is currently extending that work to examine recent hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) that have impacted large populations of veterans and VA clinics. Her other VEMEC work has included developing and refining survey instruments, assessment of VA emergency capabilities, and analysis of satisfaction with training programs for the DEMPS program in VA.
 
Beth Romer is Executive Director, Medical Education Strategy, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Program Office. In this role, she is a co-leader of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine Design and Implementation Team, responsible for bringing up the school, scheduled to open in 2019. She collaborates in a variety of physician workforce and medical education arenas, including graduate medical education. She is the advisor and grant manager for several Kaiser Permanente national community benefit grants in medical education transformation. Romer is a member of the Council on Graduate Medical Education. During her 30-year career, she has led national strategic initiatives and built strategic partnerships among the entities within Kaiser Permanente and with its labor unions. Her leadership roles spanned being a medical center administrator to developing insurance products and benefits, improving quality of care, establishing a comprehensive revenue cycle, creating the first national bargaining agreement in the labor management partnership, and providing senior executive consulting at the national level. Romer received her Bachelors in Economics and Psychology and her MPH in Health Services Management from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed the Kaiser Permanente Advanced Leadership Executive Program at the University of North Carolina.
 
Josef I Ruzek is Director of the Dissemination and Training Division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, where he has served for over 25 years. He is coeditor of two editions of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma, and a co-editor of Caring for veterans with deployment-related stress disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond, published by the American Psychological Association.  Ruzek is a member of the team that developed the joint Veterans Affairs–Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Traumatic Stress, and has been a lead for the national implementation of Prolonged Exposure evidence-based PTSD treatment within VHA. His current research focuses on evaluations of the effectiveness of online clinician training in cognitive-behavioral intervention skills, measurement of clinician practices in relation to the VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD, development of systems to increase implementation of best practices in PTSD treatment, and development and evaluation of web- and phone app interventions for PTSD, including PTSD Coach.
 
Elena Savoia is a physician specialized in preventive medicine, public health and quantitative methods; her area of expertise is in public health emergency preparedness systems research and evaluation. She joined the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Preparedness Program in 2004. During the past 13 years, her research interests have focused on the application of measurement methods to assess public health and healthcare system preparedness levels. Savoia provided technical assistance to international, national, state and local agencies to identify training needs, assess capacity gaps, measure performance during tabletop and functional exercises and identify lessons learned in the response to real events. She has conducted studies at the population and system level interviewing and surveying the general public as well as public officials during infectious disease outbreaks, chemical incidents and counter-terrorism initiatives. Savoia’s portfolio includes projects sponsored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), World Health Organization (WHO) and an active collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). She is currently the deputy director of the Emergency Preparedness Research and Evaluation and Practice Program (EPREP) and has committed her career to the study of emergency preparedness.
 
Susan Schmitz is a Senior Project Director at the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC). She has worked for over 10 years in disaster research, education, and intervention. She has been part of multiple projects focused on understanding and enhancing disaster resilience. To foster the capacity of individuals, Schmitz has provided clinical support and public health education to traditionally marginalized populations and social service professionals. Schmitz has also supported community resilience by designing and delivering preparedness training, response planning instruction, and courses to enhance recovery capabilities. At VEMEC, she has channeled that energy toward veteran disaster resilience and strengthening VA’s continuity of care by identifying ways to evaluate and enhance existing training and develop preparedness initiatives.
 
Linda Scott serves as the Director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness. Scott provides leadership and oversight for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Healthcare Preparedness Program (HPP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and received her Master of Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security.  Scott has held multiple positions of leadership in infection control, public health, and disaster response; including the organization of the eight (8) Regional Healthcare Coalitions in Michigan. She serves on many national committees and demonstrate a forward-thinking strategic approach to medical and public health preparedness planning.
 
Skip Skivington has worked at Kaiser Permanente for the past 22 years, and is currently Vice President of Operations within National Finance Operations.  He currently has executive responsibility for several key national departments, including emergency management, business continuity and the procurement and supply operations center.  Skivington is responsible for the implementation of a formal healthcare continuity management program throughout Kaiser Permanente.  Following the anthrax attacks in October 2001, he formed and now directs Kaiser Permanente’s threat assessment program consisting of an executive oversight council, and functional working groups in clinical, public policy, communications and education, community linkages, and other areas.  Skivington is a member of the State of California Joint Advisory Committee for Public Health Preparedness and is a frequent speaker on the role of healthcare during disasters.  He was a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) technical evaluation panel which reviewed and evaluated the grant proposals for the provisioning of medical treatment for injuries associated with non-emergency responders following the World Trade Center disaster. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Skivington led two Kaiser Permanente medical response teams consisting of physicians, nurses and mental health providers to the Gulf Region.  Skivington co-leads the US Government’s Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) Revisions IV and V Projects.
 
Pauline Thomas has worked in the emergency field and emergency response field for over 40 years in field, hospital and government environments. For the past 10 years she has worked with the County of San Diego EMS, doing disaster planning, exercising, and research and development of new systems and processes.  Some of her many accomplishments are the development of the “San Diego Model” (a cited best practice) for Skilled Nursing Facilities’ disaster partnerships, development of a local Disaster Rapid Assessment Team (DRAT) and putting together several very large successful exercises such as A full scale Alternate Care Site, and more recently a well-attended first time ever Long Term Care tabletop.  Thomas serves on multiple committees throughout the disaster community.
 
Tamar Wyte-Lake works to bring evidence-based tools and resources to front-line practitioners, with the goal of supporting efforts to improve the readiness of their patients and communities. Wyte-Lake’s work with the VHA Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program has focused on the development of the HBPC Disaster Preparedness Toolkit and Patient Assessment Tool, with the aim of helping programs build more robust preparedness protocols, in turn improving the preparedness of their vulnerable patients. Additional projects include developing practical tools that practitioners, as community trusted advisors, can use to provide valuable information about preparedness to their patients and examining the facilitators and barriers to collaboration that VA emergency managers confront when working with outside organizations to improve community readiness. Wyte-Lake received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California, and her MPH from the Department of Health Management and Policy at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
 
Yo Yoshida is a seasoned innovator, and entrepreneur with a passion for government and technology. He took his passion and over 20 years of experience in technology, marketing, finance, non-profits, and sustainable development to create Appallicious. As a leader in the Civic Tech and Open Data Industries he has won national awards, has been published in numerous articles in mainstream and industry media, and has received national recognition by the tech, business, and government leadership. Yoshida was honored to present his work on Disaster Open Data from the White House, to the nation, as a technology solution for community resilience and disaster management.