Panel Presentations 2014


Hospitals & Health Systems

Global Health Preparedness

Children & Families

Workforce Readiness

Public Venues

At Risk Populations



Developing Scorecards for Hospital Preparedness: Working Together to Establish Meaningful Measures

Hospitals play a vital role when disasters and large-scale emergencies occur in a community. Hospitals prepare for such events through planning and practice, and with the goal of ensuring continuity of operations. However, while numerous entities, both governmental and private, as well as hospitals themselves repeatedly assess “hospital preparedness,” no clear and shared definitions or measures of this concept exist. Panelists represent a range of organizations with an interest in hospital preparedness. Presentations will focus on ways in which hospital preparedness is currently being assessed and describe how the field can move in a concerted way toward more unified, less duplicative hospital preparedness assessments with common measures and standards.

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Sustainable Global Disaster Response and Recovery

Most deaths from disasters occur in developing countries. Accordingly, developing countries tend to rely on short-term, international humanitarian aid to address the ever-increasing frequency and magnitude of disasters. In contrast, long-term recovery and mitigation efforts have proven more difficult to sustain. Despite these observations, less than 1% of all disaster-related publications concern disasters in less-developed countries. Panelists will discuss challenges and lessons learned in coordinating both short-term and long-term relief efforts of non-government volunteer organizations, particularly the vital role that Diasporas can play. Panelists will discuss relevant research and practice-based observations from various fields, focusing on key lessons for practitioners, policy-makers, community leaders, and researchers.

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Resilience and Recovery among Children and Families

The unique needs of children and families are often not addressed in preparedness plans, despite the fact that there are 74 million children under age 18 in the U.S. Addressing these needs and building the resilience of the communities in which children live will require building coalitions that include numerous stakeholders that often do not work together on an ongoing basis. This panel brings together traditional and non-traditional medical and public health stakeholders, including community organizations, schools, and other partners to examine public health preparedness related to children and families. The panelists will review existing tools and frameworks, discuss how to leverage partnerships and organizations to build resilience, and describe what opportunities and needs exist to use policy and research to strengthen resilience and recovery among children and families.

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Workforce and Community Readiness

How healthcare professionals respond in the wake of a disaster can depend on preparedness of the healthcare organization as much as on the healthcare professionals themselves.  Public and private workforces in government, health care, and other vital industries need to understand how to prepare for a disaster and be ready, willing, and able to return to work following a disaster. To do so, we need an understanding of current healthcare workforce needs.  In addition, businesses and workers need to be trained in mitigation activities and be prepared with policies and procedures to react quickly and effectively in the aftermath of a disaster. Panelists will discuss current critical gaps in the California healthcare workforce, workforce readiness in a large academic hospital, innovative virtual learning resources aimed at preparing staff for disasters, and the use of international medical graduates to improve preparedness among traditionally underserved communities.

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Improving Preparedness in Public Venues

Mass public gatherings, many of which traditionally lack sufficient or effective spectator control, have been the site of multiple deaths and injuries in numerous countries and across various types of events. Malls and other large businesses have been terrorist targets in many nations. Sporting events, concerts, and festivals consistently tend to produce spectator-generated incidents. Panelists will share lessons learned from such incidents, and provide tools and experiences in a form that can be used as a guide for planning for such events in the future. The discussion will highlight preparedness activities designed to protect the safety of customers, guests, performers, and employees.

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Building Community Resilience amid Social Marginalization: Homeless and other At-Risk Populations

Planning for community resilience involves ensuring that the needs of all populations are adequately integrated into disaster planning.  Socially stigmatized populations often rely on social institutions (i.e. homeless shelters, correctional facilities, drug rehabilitation facilities, emergency rooms, social service agencies) for their daily care and survival.  In particular, people experiencing homelessness are especially susceptible to the adverse impacts of disasters due to poverty, isolation, lack of shelter, and physical and mental health conditions.  Nevertheless, these groups are often neglected in disaster planning.  Consequently, these individuals have often fared poorly in disasters.  This panel presents a new Toolkit for Homeless Disaster Preparedness and Planning that provides strategies to ensure that the needs and strengths of homeless individuals are integrated into disaster planning.

Panelists will also discuss the implications of this toolkit for other marginalized populations, including incarcerated individuals or persons with substance use disorders.  Homeless service providers and re-entry providers constitute a support structure for chronically homeless individuals, who constantly cycle through jails, shelters, and the street.  Within these systems, public health emergencies such as infectious diseases present particular planning challenges.  This session will explore the toolkit and other approaches to enhance community support and resilience for these populations.

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