Chicago medical response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti: translating academic collaboration into direct humanitarian response.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (Impact Factor: 1.14). 06/2010; 4(2):169-73. DOI: 10.1001/dmphp.4.2.169
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake in Haiti resulted in approximately 212 000 deaths, 300 000 injuries, and more than 1.2 million internally displaced people, making it the most devastating disaster in Haiti's recorded history. Six academic medical centers from the city of Chicago established an interinstitutional collaborative initiative, the Chicago Medical Response, in partnership with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti that provided a sustainable response, sending medical teams to Haiti on a weekly basis for several months. More than 475 medical volunteers were identified, of whom 158 were deployed to Haiti by April 1, 2010. This article presents the shared experiences, observations, and lessons learned by all of the participating institutions. Specifically, it describes the factors that provided the framework for the collaborative initiative, the communication networks that contributed to the ongoing response, the operational aspects of deploying successive medical teams, and the benefits to the institutions as well as to the NGOs and Haitian medical system, along with the challenges facing those institutions individually and collectively. Academic medical institutions can provide a major reservoir of highly qualified volunteer medical personnel that complement the needs of NGOs in disasters for a sustainable medical response. Support of such collaborative initiatives is required to ensure generalizability and sustainability.

  • Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 07/2011; 12(4):468-70. DOI:10.1097/PCC.0b013e3182196eae · 2.33 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a 7.0 earthquake which left the country in a state of devastation. In the aftermath, there was an enormous relief effort in which academic medical centers (AMC) played an important role. We offer a retrospective on the AMC response through the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) experience. Over the course of the year that followed the Earthquake, MSSM conducted five service trips in conjunction with two well-established groups which have provided service to the Haitian people for over 15 years. MSSM volunteer personnel included nurses, resident and attending physicians, and specialty fellows who provided expertise in critical care, emergency medicine, wound care, infectious diseases and chronic disease management of adults and children. Challenges faced included stressful and potentially hazardous working conditions, provision of care with limited resources and cultural and language barriers. The success of the MSSM response was due largely to the strength of its human resources and the relationship forged with effective relief organizations. These service missions fulfilled the institution's commitment to social responsibility and provided a valuable training opportunity in advocacy. For other AMCs seeking to respond in future emergencies, we suggest early identification of a partner with field experience, recruitment of administrative and faculty support across the institution, significant pre-departure orientation and utilization of volunteers to fundraise and advocate. Through this process, AMCs can play an important role in disaster response.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 01/2012; 86(1):32-5. DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0434 · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that a catastrophic event in the continental United States (US) can overwhelm domestic medical response capabilities. The recent focus on response planning for a catastrophic earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the detonation of an improvised nuclear device also underscore the need for improved plans. The purpose of this analysis is to identify the potential role of foreign medical teams (FMTs) in providing medical response to a catastrophic event in the US. We reviewed existing policies and frameworks that address medical response to catastrophic events and humanitarian emergencies and assess current response capabilities by a variety of FMTs. While several policies and plans outline the role of the US in providing medical assistance during foreign disasters, further planning is necessary to identify how the US will integrate foreign medical assistance during a domestic catastrophic event. We provide an overview of considerations related to federal roles and responsibilities for managing and integrating FMTs into the overarching domestic medical response to a catastrophic disaster occurring in the continental US. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-8).
    Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 10/2013; 7(6):1-8. DOI:10.1017/dmp.2013.95 · 1.14 Impact Factor