Massachusetts / Region 1 Regional Disaster Health Response System (RDHRS)
Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement Awardee
The Massachusetts / Region 1 Partnership for Regional Disaster Health Response (MPRDHR, or “the Partnership”) is working to develop innovative mechanisms that link medical experts in healthcare disaster response with other key governmental and community partners and stakeholders to improve coordination of planning and response activities and enhance patient care during disasters.
The Partnership’s activities for the coming year focus on three priorities to:
- Build a statewide network of technical advisors from participating partnership healthcare institutions that enhances efforts to coordinate patient and resource movement during disasters, to respond effectively to unusual threats, and to develop medical surge capacity
- Establish a 24/7/365 Center that supports healthcare incident response and situational awareness and includes healthcare emergency managers and groups of experts drawn from a network across the partnership that have expertise in traumatic injuries, burns, chemical or radiation injuries, management of high consequence infectious diseases, and pediatric disaster management
- Develop and support rapidly deployable general and specialty disaster medical response teams that can support all-hazards local, state, and regional disaster response when needed
Partnership activities will focus on promoting bidirectional communication and enhancing situational awareness of medical needs and issues in disaster response while integrating its activities into the existing plans and structures of its emergency management and healthcare partners.
Strengthening Relationships to Enhance Patient Care
The Partnership leverages existing strong relationships among statewide healthcare and governmental partners who are committed to improving the coordinated deliver of patient care during disasters.
- Healthcare Facilities: All eight of the Commonwealth’s American College of Surgeons’ verified Level I adult and pediatric trauma centers are members of the Partnership, as are two local health care facilities with unique expertise and resources relevant to disaster health response: McLean Hospital (psychiatric care) and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (rehabilitation and long-term care).
- Public Health Partners: Several essential stakeholders from the Massachusetts state government are key members of the Partnership, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), all six of the Commonwealth’s Health and Medical Coordinating Coalitions (HMCCs), and all five of the Commonwealth’s Regional EMS Councils. The Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) brings their expertise in training and educating the healthcare workforce to the Partnership.
- Professional Associations: The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MLCHC) and the Massachusetts Senior Care Association (MASCA), both representing critical aspects of the healthcare system outside of acute care hospitals, are also members. The American Burn Association (ABA) is also a critical stakeholder and named partner in this process
Subject matter expert advisory groups will be formed within the Partnership to serve to advance the state’s planning for unique emergency scenarios. The expert advisory groups will consist of individuals from the hospitals and others within the Partnership who possess unique knowledge and skills in specific topic areas relevant to disasters.
The Partnership will convene meetings among the six HHS Region 1 Department of Public Health emergency preparedness directors and the ASPR Regional staff to brief them on the progress of the Partnership and to solicit their input on Partnership activities and decisions. The Partnership will also have an Executive Committee that oversees Partnership operations, manages finances, and ensures compliance with grant deliverables.
To measure the progress of the Partnership’s activities, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Research Evaluation and Practice (EPREP) Program will join the Partnership to develop evaluation metrics for operational capabilities, as well as to design and conduct an exercise to test those capabilities.
For more information regarding Region 1 RDHRS, please visit its website at ww.rdhrs.org.