The Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia College of Public Health was recently awarded $756,000 in new federal funding to design and direct new Ebola emergency response initiatives for the Georgia health care system.
[Photo: Paramedics, fire fighters and other first responders assess a victim after placing her on a backboard during a full-scale disaster exercise on May 19 at Magnolia Manor senior community in Americus, GA]
Since 2006, the Institute for Disaster Management has been contracted by the Georgia Department of Public Health to manage the state’s health care community preparedness program by designing and implementing disaster exercises for hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care organizations across the state. The new grant increases the institute’s total budget for the upcoming fiscal year to $1,260,000 and further expands the college’s disaster preparedness role within the state of Georgia.
“Georgia, a major entry point for people coming into the U.S. from Africa, has really been doing very well in screening and monitoring potential Ebola patients, but we still have to be diligent about understanding who we are treating, what screening/triage mechanisms are implemented and transferring them to appropriate definitive care sites,” said Dr. Curt Harris, an assistant professor of health policy and management and the institute’s associate director.
“This new program will be essential in getting our hospitals and emergency medical services on the same page about recognizing symptomology and implementing infection control measures for Ebola.”
Georgia is divided geographically into 14 health care coalitions, each a collaborative network of hospitals, public health departments, law enforcement, local businesses, emergency management agencies, and other health care organizations organized to respond to mass casualty and catastrophic events in a given region.
The number of stakeholders in each region varies. In some regions, the institute may work with as few as eight hospitals while in others the number of participating institutions approaches 50.