Expert of the Week   for  17 - 23 Nov 2014

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Patrick Rose

Senior Analyst

Gryphon Scientific, LLC Expertise:  Area of expertise includes: understanding second-order effects resulting from all-hazards disasters, implementing mass casualty operations (e.g., crisis standards of care, crisis communication, and interoperable coordination) and on understanding operational constraints of a public health impact.

Patrick Rose has been with Gryphon Scientific since 2013, where he is currently assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in increasing its preparedness for all-hazards (including providing public health security training for national Incident Management Assistance Teams). One of his primary efforts is to address public health impacts whether as second-order effects from other disasters or resulting directly from catastrophic emerging infectious disease epidemics. Along these lines, Patrick supports efforts domestically and internationally in the field and at the policy level and assists with planning and preparedness efforts at the local, regional and national level to improve all-hazard response operations. One of Dr. Rose’s main functions is to help reinforce existing preparedness capacity by providing training and conducting exercises to test real-world preparedness levels. The exercises range from discussion-based through full-scale exercises and focus on hospital preparedness, military-civilian coordination during mass casualty/medical surge scenarios, hospital evacuations following a direct disaster impact, and regional coordination following a mass casualty incident resulting from a Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear incident. One of his more recent efforts have been with the United States National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center to create a virtual training programs to increase proficiencies in disaster response operations Dr. Rose holds a Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases and serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. For his efforts in addressing public health security issues, Dr. Rose was recently recognized as a Global Health Security Fellow through the ongoing efforts of the Global Health Security Agenda. In addition, Dr. Rose is an Alumnus of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative through the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Implementing a robust public health security strategy to the all-hazards disaster preparedness approach in order to limit second-order public health disasters

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QQuestion by Mr Olumide Idowu

How can we involve youth in disaster preparedness approach in order to limit second-order public health disasters and what are the tools needed for them to reach a certain goals?

Mr Olumide Idowu Youth Engagement Officer | Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition

APosted on 24 Nov 2014

Dear Mr. Idowu,

Thank you very much for your question. 

The youth are our future, and it is absolutely essential that they are equally invested in creating sustainable and resilient communities. My recommendation is to involve youth from the start by encouraging them to develop novel and innovative ways to address vulnerabilities in their own communities. Have them participate in workshops and conferences and seek out new ideas from them by fostering competitions that are financially rewarded, and finally create youth community emergency response teams. 

The community emergency response teams will give the youth an opportunity to learn about all the professions involved in disaster management, which can be a great chance to learn about different career tracks. The second effect of having youth community emergency response teams is that these youth then have something to take pride in and earn the respect of their elders and peers; the community will also trust them and listen to them during a crisis. You can leverage that relationship and use the youth teams as a conduit for raising awareness and sharing information government agencies need to distribute. Finally these teams can be an extension of the existing disaster response, which will inevitable be strained and undermanned. 

I have worked with youth many times and the most amazing thing when you give them a chance to make a difference, to find a passion and mission in their lives, is that this becomes self-perpetuating. The youth will attract their peers and the network will grow.

I hope this answers your question.

QQuestion by Mr Dave Paul Zervaas

Dear Patrick, you mention that certain organizations may not immediately see themselves as playing a role in responding to a public health disaster. Can you give an example while also recommending how to get those organizations on the team?

Mr Dave Paul Zervaas Programme Officer | UNISDR

APosted on 19 Nov 2014

Dear Dave, Thank you very much for your question. 

Most types of disasters involve some level of physical destruction and often displacement of people. For these types of disasters (e.g., a typhoon or an earthquake) many organizations/government agencies already have contingency plans in place to respond to the disaster because they are expected to be called upon. For example governments often rely on the military's professionally trained and well equipped force to assist with debris removal and any resulting humanitarian crisis. 

When we first think of public health disasters, for example the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, many government agencies do not see themselves playing a role because the same characteristics of other types of disasters are not present; there is no physical destruction or internally displaced persons. In a public health disaster, we turn towards doctors and healthcare workers to get the situation under control. The problem is that most healthcare systems are already overwhelmed, under-resourced, and understaffed, so a public health disaster will levy an extraordinary strain on the already stretched healthcare system. 

We need to think about how we can leverage professionals in other areas of government or disaster response to support healthcare professionals and decompress healthcare systems. Initial triage and limited, basic first-aid treatments can be effectively completed by just-in-time trained non-healthcare workers (e.g., military personnel). Screening a population for illness or unusual health symptoms at ports of entry can be accomplished by customs and border patrol officials who are already trained to look out for the unusual. Social workers might be more welcome to go through communities to conduct health screening of community members because of their existing relationship with that community. Postal workers, teachers, religious leaders can help with crisis communication or distributing directions that their communities should follow in a public health disaster. In all we need to leverage individuals which have very important capabilities that may not necessarily be directly tied to the healthcare profession. 

Another important aspect to consider are public-private partnerships. Companies succeed through efficiency and exemplary organization, so they might be able to accomplish a function better than government agencies, whether it is using their existing supply chains for rapid distribution of medicines or comprehensive tracking systems to get better situational awareness. Companies are inherently interested in getting back to some level of normalcy to be able to conduct business, thus they are often very eager to help in any way that leads to a positive outcome. 

Finally, in most public health disasters a large portion of those affected do not need major medical attention, but simply some type of support to deal with the extraordinary circumstances, so a healthcare professional may not be the most appropriate person to assist. It is important to point out to organizations/government agencies who do not immediately see a role for themselves in a public health disaster, how their organization's unique features or expertise can provide an effective solution to a very amenable situation. It starts by bringing these parties to the table to explain what basic public health measures entail to demystify that most of the tasks dealing with a public health disaster do not need to be completed by a healthcare professional.