The annual MRC conference
itself became a prime example of the need for flexibility in a
disaster. Who could have predicted that Nashville, chosen as the
site for the integrated summit on May 12 to 16, would be subjected
to historic flooding the first weekend of May?
Organizers quickly evaluated the situation and notified participants:
to weekend storms in Middle Tennessee that caused widespread flooding,
the site of the 2010 Integrated Medical, Public Health, Preparedness
and Response Training Summit will remain closed for the next few
months. Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent severe
weather. We are doing our best to practice the 4 R's of resiliency
- robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness and rapidity - as we
respond to this evolving situation."
Rather than cancel the Summit, organizers found a site where the
conference could be held three weeks later. Participants were
asked whether this option would allow enough of them to attend,
before a contract for the new location was signed. Then the conference
- and its 2500 participants - simply moved the event to a drier
of the plenary sessions had strong MA connections. Richard
Serino (at poduim) prepares to introduce Dr. Howard Koh (far
right). Currently Deputy Administrator of FEMA, Serino was
previously Chief of Boston EMS with 35 years of service. Dr.
Koh was the MA Commissioner of Public Health till 2003, then
served as a professor at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH),
before becoming assistant secretary for the Department of
Health and Human Services in 2009.
The Summit was co-sponsored
by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sessions
brought together HHS response partners including the following:
- National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)
- Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMC)
- Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health
the . the MA affiliate is known as
MSAR, Massachusetts System for Advance Registration)
- Office of Force Readiness and Deployment (OFRD)
affiliate from the Westford Health Department included a photo
from an H1N1 clinic at which members of the UMV MRC responded,
for a poster session on community-wide disease surveillance.
MRC leaders from across
the nation mingled with response partners and learned how to make
their units even more effective in case of emergencies.
leaders from MA MRC units, shown in the foreground, had
during breaks in the plenary sessions.