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: 0.7). 06/2010; 4(2):169-73. DOI: 10.1001/dmphp.4.2.169
Source: PubMed


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Jennifer Chan
  • Source
    • "Some AMCs work closely with NGOs to provide staffing support during times of crisis, such as the University of Miami and its work with Project Medishare in Haiti (Ginzburg et al. 2010). Six Chicago medical institutions formed a collaborative initiative known as the Chicago Medical Response which partnered with NGOs in Haiti following the earthquake to provide a sustained post-disaster response of medical providers (Babcock et al. 2010). The University of Pennsylvania collaborated with a wellestablished NGO to provide anesthesia and surgical services in Haiti (McCunn et al. 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deployable medical teams from academic medical centers (AMCs) can be a valuable adjunct to military and NGO response to disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2009, Johns Hopkins created and trained a scalable, rapidly deployable team of nearly 200 healthcare workers and staff from many disciplines. In 2010 the team deployed groups to the Haiti earthquake which provided valuable lessons regarding utility and implementation of such a team. Partnerships with established response organizations are key. Flexibility of the team's structure allows rapid response to evolving needs of requesting agencies, prevents institutional disruption, and sustains response. Careful management of team logistics is critical to the health, welfare, and security of the team. Complex human resource issues must be anticipated and addressed. Finally, AMCs must be willing and able to absorb some costs associated with the response, even when deploying with well-funded and highly resourced agencies.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · World Medical and Health Policy
  • Source

    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To describe a unique experience providing critical care to infants and children in Haiti 3 months after a major earthquake. Observational. Field medical facility in a developing country. Infants and children admitted to a combined neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit between April 17 and 24, 2010. None. Nine infants and 20 children were admitted to an intensive care unit with eight cots and ten infant beds over a 1-wk period. Central nervous system and infectious diseases were the most common reasons for intensive care unit admission. Nine of 20 (45%) children died before hospital discharge. Survivors represented a cohort of children with acute, reversible disease. Pediatric critical care can be implemented in low-income countries but requires significant resource use and careful patient selection. Consideration should be paid to the costs of delivering critical care in developing countries, which can inadvertently appropriate resources that have a larger impact on pediatric public health.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
Show more