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In the U.S., migration has been documented to affect the prevalence of infectious disease. As a mitigation entity, border security has been recorded by numerous scholarly works as being essential to the support of the health of the U.S. population. Consequently, the lack of current health care monitoring of the permeable U.S. border places the U.S. population at risk in the broad sectors of infectious disease and interpersonal violence. Visualizing border security in the context of public health mitigation has significant potential to protect migrant health as well as that of all populations on both sides of the border. Examples of how commonly this philosophy is held can be found in the expansive use of security-focused terms regarding public health. Using tools such as GIS to screen for disease in people before their entrance into a nation would be more efficient and ethical than treating patients once they have entered a population and increased the impact on the healthcare system. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:554–562)
This study argues that any nuclear weapon exchange or major nuclear plant meltdown, in the categories of human systems failure and conflict-based crises, will immediately provoke an unprecedented public health emergency of international concern. Notwithstanding nuclear triage and management plans and technical monitoring standards within the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization (WHO), the capacity to rapidly deploy a robust professional workforce with the internal coordination and collaboration capabilities required for large-scale nuclear crises is profoundly lacking. A similar dilemma, evident in the early stages of the Ebola epidemic, was eventually managed by using worldwide infectious disease experts from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and multiple multidisciplinary WHO-supported foreign medical teams. This success has led the WHO to propose the development of a Global Health Workforce. A strategic format is proposed for nuclear preparedness and response that builds and expands on the current model for infectious disease outbreak currently under consideration. This study proposes the inclusion of a nuclear global health workforce under the technical expertise of the International Atomic Energy Agency and WHO’s Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network leadership and supported by the International Health Regulations Treaty. Rationales are set forth for the development, structure, and function of a nuclear workforce based on health outcomes research that define the unique health, health systems, and public health challenges of a nuclear crisis. Recent research supports that life-saving opportunities are possible, but only if a rapidly deployed and robust multidisciplinary response component exists. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:129–144)
Numerous practice reports recommend roles pharmacists may adopt during disasters. This study examines the peer-reviewed literature for factors that explain the roles pharmacists assume in disasters and the differences in roles and disasters when stratified by time.
Quantitative content analysis was used to gather data consisting of words and phrases from peer-reviewed pharmacy literature regarding pharmacists’ roles in disasters. Negative binomial regression and Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric models were applied to the data.
Pharmacists’ roles in disasters have not changed significantly since the 1960s. Pharmaceutical supply remains their preferred role, while patient management and response integration roles decrease in context of common, geographically widespread disasters. Policy coordination roles, however, significantly increase in nuclear terrorism planning.
Pharmacists’ adoption of nonpharmaceutical supply roles may represent a problem of accepting a paradigm shift in nontraditional roles. Possible shortages of personnel in future disasters may change the pharmacists’ approach to disaster management. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;7:563–572)
The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 involved the largest airborne release of radioactivity in history, more than 100 times as much radioactivity as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs together. The resulting emergency response, administrative blunders, and subsequent patient outcomes from this large-scale radiological disaster provide a wealth of information and valuable lessons for those who may find themselves having to deal with the staggering consequences of nuclear war. Research findings, administrative strategies (successful and otherwise), and resulting clinical procedures from the Chernobyl experience are reviewed to determine a current utility in addressing the appropriate protocols for a medical response to nuclear war. As various myths are still widely associated with radiation exposure, attention is given to the realities of a mass casualty medical response as it would occur with a nuclear detonation.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:330-334)
Background: Government reports have persistently indicated the intent of terrorists and hostile nations to acquire and “weaponize” nuclear materials for deliberate attack on a major US metropolitan city.
Methods: A modeling analysis of the effects of 20- and 550-kiloton nuclear detonations on the 2 major metropolitan centers of Los Angeles and Houston is presented with a focus on thermal casualties. Brode’s work as modified by Binninger was used to calculate thermal fluence, using thermal fractions. The EM-1 and WE programs were used to calculate blast effects. Fallout radiation was calculated using the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability V404SP4 with “urban effects” turned on. The ESRI ArcView program calculated affected populations from 2000 US Census block-level data for areas affected by thermal effects.
Results: The population affected by a 550-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated in Los Angeles and Houston is staggering: surviving thermal casualties are estimated at 185,000 and 59,000, respectively. Even the 20-kiloton detonations in Los Angeles and Houston are significant: the numbers of surviving thermal casualties requiring care exceed 28,000 and 10,000, respectively.
Conclusions: The surviving health care community postdetonation would be faced with an unprecedented burden of care for thermal casualties. A great expansion of personnel involved in emergency burn care response is critical. Bold, new approaches such as regionalization and predetermined medical air transport need to be considered. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2007;1:80–89)
Background: Various organizations and universities have developed competencies for health professionals and other emergency responders. Little effort has been devoted to the integration of these competencies across health specialties and professions. The American Medical Association Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response convened an expert working group (EWG) to review extant competencies and achieve consensus on an educational framework and competency set from which educators could devise learning objectives and curricula tailored to fit the needs of all health professionals in a disaster.
Methods: The EWG conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed and non–peer reviewed published literature. In addition, after-action reports from Hurricane Katrina and relevant publications recommended by EWG members and other subject matter experts were reviewed for congruencies and gaps. Consensus was ensured through a 3-stage Delphi process.
Results: The EWG process developed a new educational framework for disaster medicine and public health preparedness based on consensus identification of 7 core learning domains, 19 core competencies, and 73 specific competencies targeted at 3 broad health personnel categories.
Conclusions: The competencies can be applied to a wide range of health professionals who are expected to perform at different levels (informed worker/student, practitioner, leader) according to experience, professional role, level of education, or job function. Although these competencies strongly reflect lessons learned following the health system response to Hurricane Katrina, it must be understood that preparedness is a process, and that these competencies must be reviewed continually and refined over time. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2:57–68)
Once again, the politically volatile Middle East and accompanying rhetoric has escalated the risk of a major nuclear exchange. Diplomatic efforts have failed to make the medical consequences of such an exchange a leading element in negotiations. The medical and academic communities share this denial. Without exaggeration, the harsh reality of the enormous consequences of an imminently conceivable nuclear war between Iran and Israel will encompass an unprecedented millions of dead and an unavoidable decline in public health and environmental devastation that would impact major populations in the Middle East for decades to come. Nuclear deterrence and the uncomfortable but real medical and public health consequences must become an integral part of a broader global health diplomacy that emphasizes health security along with poverty reduction and good governance.