Third Annual Pacific Preparedness Conference on Vulnerable Populations

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Mar 1, 2010

Top disaster experts to speak at Pacific Preparedness Conference
Top disaster experts to speak at Pacific Preparedness Conference

The Pacific Emergency Management, Preparedness, and Response Information Network and Training Services (Pacific EMPRINTS) is pleased to announce its upcoming 2010 Pacific Preparedness Conference: Capacity Building to Address Vulnerable Populations in Natural Disasters, to be held on March 31, 2010 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi.   “This is the third year that Pacific EMPRINTS is focusing its conference on vulnerable populations and in each of these years we have been addressing the specific needs of various at-risk populations to help improve preparedness and response within our communities,” said Dr. Ann Sakaguchi, director of Pacific EMPRINTS and AMA’s NDLS-Pacific Regional Center.  Target audiences for this conference are disaster management personnel, including health professionals, emergency managers and social services advocates.

Why are these populations so important?  Researchers are in agreement that vulnerable and special needs populations are disproportionately affected by natural disasters but in Hawaiʻi, this group makes up about one-third of the population.  At-risk populations that face social, political and/or economic vulnerabilities include but are not limited to the poor and/or homeless, the elderly, people with mobility or other physical impairments, children, those who have mental health problems, people with special medical needs, single parents and those with language barriers. 
At this upcoming conference, In addition to officials and experts who deal with vulnerable populations in Hawaiʻi, three nationally recognized experts in disaster management are scheduled to speak.
Keynote speaker,  Dr. Eric K. Noji, MPH, MBA, DTM&H, is a physician and Senior Vice President / Chief Global Relations Officer of the AllHumanity Group, and Director of the organization’s offices in Washington, D.C., and Geneva, Switzerland. In his presentation, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google – Disaster Information Tool-Kits for the 21st Century,” he will examine the future of crisis management information systems and reflect on how our rapidly changing socio-technical environments are affecting the ways we respond to disasters, emergencies and other humanitarian crises. Specifically, he will explore the use of the four most popular social-networking technologies, communications, chat, iTV, IM, SMS, mobile tele-health, cloud computing, information search engines and microblogging services that were used for rescue efforts following the Haiti earthquake in January and for fund-raising to help stabilize and rebuild the country.
Luncheon speaker Dr. Linda Y. Landesman, DrPH, MSW, is widely acclaimed as an author of six books including Improving Preparedness Through Lessons Learned and Public Health Management of Disasters: The Practice Guide, now in its second edition. She has developed national standards for emergency services response. In her presentation, she will review key disasters that occurred in the past century with a focus on what was learned from each. In her presentation, she will discuss the challenges for communities to incorporate those lessons into actions that reduce morbidity and mortality in future disasters, foster an understanding of key outcomes that result from these disasters and provide suggestions on how to begin formalizing next steps in incorporating lessons learned. 
The conference will conclude with a capstone presentation and  discussion with the audience by Jack Herrmann, MSEd, NCC, LMHC, Senior Advisor for Public Health Preparedness at the National Association of Countyand City Health Officials (NACCHO), an association that represents approximately 2,800 localpublic health departments across the country. In his presentation, “Crisis Standards of Care: Public Health Challenges in Responding to the Needs of Vulnerable Populations During Catastrophic Disasters,”he will discuss the fact that although all disasters present obstaclesand challenges for public health, emergency management and health care personnel, large scaledisasters present unique circumstances in a community’s ability to protect the health and welfareof its population, especially those considered at-risk or vulnerable. Catastrophic disasters, thoseresulting in significant deaths and injuries and severely compromised infrastructure (i.e. closure of healthcare facilities due to damage, heavy surge of patientsrequiring medical care, etc.), can present the toughest challenges. Health professionals and disasterpersonnel must be prepared to adapt usual standards of care to respond to these unusual events.Deviating from traditional treatment protocols can present legal and ethical challenges and resultin adverse consequences in public relations, especially involving vulnerable populations such asolder adults, minorities, or other disenfranchised individuals. Mr. Herrmann will lead the audience indiscussing accomplishments and challenges in crisis standards of care planning, in particular, howto address and resolve legal & ethical issues, building & sustaining partnerships with agenciesrepresenting vulnerable populations, engaging community and other stakeholder! input, training &preparing their workforce, and exercising & evaluating their plan.
State experts also scheduled to present at the conference include: Edward Teixeira, Vice Director for Hawaiʻi State Civil Defense; Dr. Loren Yamamoto, Professor of Pediatrics, John A. Burns School of Medicine and Director of Emergency Medicine at the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Dr. C. Kimo Alameda, Director of the Office of Multi-Cultural Services in the Adult Mental Health Division of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health; and Christina Finch, Senior Risk and Vulnerability Analyst at the Pacific Disaster Center. 

Online registration and additional information about the conference can be found at Pacific EMPRINTS’ website,

Pacific EMPRINTS (Emergency Management, Preparedness, and Response Information Network and Training Services) is a consortium of fourteen organizations, which was established in late 2005 with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources Services Administration.  Today, it has grown into a premier disaster preparedness and management training program in the Pacific region.  In 2007, the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), the world's largest developer of GIS software, presented Pacific EMPRINTS with the prestigious Significant Achievement in Geographic Information Systems Award for its contributions to improving society.  In 2008, Pacific EMPRINTS was approved as the National Disaster Life Support (NDLS)-Pacific Regional Center under the American Medical Association, one of thirty-five (35) such centers in the U.S, and the only center in the Pacific region, focusing its trainings efforts within the State of Hawaiʻi and the surrounding Pacific region. 

In addition to its NDLS trainings, Pacific EMPRINTS offers 60+ online and podcast courses, 11 problem-based learning and 16 GIS/GPS online courses, 50+ informational lectures, mini-simulation and live training exercises and annual conferences to address preparing for and responding to natural disasters and technological hazards. Enrollments in its online courses are from the Pacific region, Hawaiʻi as well as all of the other forty-nine (49) states, and 38 countries. More information about Pacific EMPRINTS and the training opportunities it offers can be found at  Pacific EMPRINTS is currently funded by the Hawaiʻi State Civil Defense. 

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