AMA gets $1 million disaster response grant
■ The money will pay to put online an established course on disaster and terrorist attack preparedness and will evaluate its effectiveness.
By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Sept. 13, 2004
The Dept. of Homeland Security awarded $1 million to the American Medical Association's Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response last month to increase access to the center's Core Disaster Life Support course.
"This course means the medical first responders will have the knowledge they need in a post-9/11 world," said Matt A. Mayer, chief of staff for the department's Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness.
The program aims to address some of the communication and coordination gaps that occur during man-made or natural disasters because the impact of such events spills over jurisdictional boundaries. People affected by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, or a man-made event, such as a terrorist attack, could cross state lines for help. Responders also could arrive from near and far.
"The problem is that over the years different systems have evolved, but the system needs to be integrated," said James J. James, MD, DrPH, MHA, the center's director. "This course provides a template for a seamless response from the incident scene to the emergency room and beyond, and ensures that we're all speaking the same language."
The course has been offered in the classroom setting at various conferences and educational institutions since June 2003. The grant will provide funding to put the program online to increase the number of physicians and other health care professionals in rural and underserved areas who are able to receive the training without missing work or incurring travel expenses. It also will pay to evaluate the course's effectiveness.
The grant is one of 14 awarded by the Dept. of Homeland Security's Competitive Training Grants Program, which will dole out $34 million in the next month.