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Addressing Children’s Needs in Disasters: A Regional Pediatric Tabletop Exercise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2018

Sarita Chung*
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
Aaron H. Gardner
Affiliation:
Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Idaho Falls, Idaho
David J. Schonfeld
Affiliation:
Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and Pediatrics, University of Southern California, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Jessica L. Franks
Affiliation:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability, Atlanta, Georgia
Marvin So
Affiliation:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability, Atlanta, Georgia
Eric J. Dziuban
Affiliation:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgina Peacock
Affiliation:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability, Atlanta, Georgia
*
Correspondence and reprint request to Sarita Chung, MD, FAAP, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail: Sarita.Chung@childrens.harvard.edu).

Abstract

Objective

Preparing and responding to the needs of children during public health emergencies continues to be challenging. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of a tabletop exercise in initiating pediatric preparedness strategies and assessing the impact of the exercise on participants’ understanding of and confidence in their roles during pediatric public health emergencies.

Methods

A tabletop exercise was developed to simulate a public health emergency scenario involving smallpox in a child, with subsequent spread to multiple states. During the exercise, participants discussed and developed communication, collaboration, and medical countermeasure strategies to enhance pediatric public health preparedness. Exercise evaluation was designed to assess participants’ knowledge gained and level of confidence surrounding pediatric public health emergencies.

Results

In total, 22 participants identified over 100 communication and collaboration strategies to promote pediatric public health preparedness during the exercise and found that the most beneficial aspect during the exercise was the partnership between pediatricians and public health officials. Participants’ knowledge and level of confidence surrounding a pediatric public health emergency increased after the exercise.

Conclusion

The tabletop exercise was effective in identifying strategies to improve pediatric public health preparedness as well as enhancing participants’ knowledge and confidence surrounding a potential pediatric public health emergency. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:582–586)

Type
Brief Report
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2018 

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