Friday, March 31, 2006

UNC Webcast: Lessons from Katrina on Emergency Preparedness and Response

"Learning from Katrina: Tough Lessons in Preparedness and Emergency Response"

As part of the CDC and UNC School of Public Health's "Public Health Grand Rounds" series of public webcasts, today's program was especially valuable for providing perspective on the public health response to Katrina, as viewed by the public health and hospital officials who were directly involved in coordinating the local and state public health response in Louisiana. This webcast features brief interview segments with six members of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, as well as representatives from the Louisiana Hospital Association, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, and the New Orleans Health Department.

Overall, this program is especially valuable for stressing the need for forms of local planning and preparedness training that build strong relationships and patterns of behavior among local first responders as a foundation for effective communication and coordination of improvised and creative responses to the unexpected aspects of any disaster.

As posted on the website, the six "Objectives" of today's program were to:

1. Describe three communication problems that challenged the Katrina disaster response.
2. Identify three concerns in evacuating vulnerable populations from a disaster area.
3. Describe two strategies to prevent infectious disease outbreaks.
4. Describe the public health response when hospital systems are overwhelmed. 5. Describe two factors that impacted coordination between federal, state, and local public health partners.
6. Discuss the need to anticipate behavioral reactions to a disaster.

The UNC Public Health Grand Rounds website makes this webcast available for viewing, and for the next week until April 7 also has an on-line Post-Program Discussion Forum available for addressing questions raised by the program.

The next Public Health Grand Rounds Program is scheduled for June 9 and will be a follow-up to today's program, and is titled "After Katrina: Building a Better Public Health System for the Future."

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