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Johns Hopkins medical team to deploy on Navy mission - 08/06/2010

Johns Hopkins medical team to deploy on Navy mission

Release Date: August 6, 2010


Event Date:  Aug. 8, 2010

What: Johns Hopkins medical team to deploy on Navy mission

Time:  7:30 A.M. – 8:15 A.M.

Where: BWI airport, Southwest terminal

Contact:  For interviews, information or parking:  
  Mark Guidera, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media & Public Affairs
  443-898-2320 or [email protected]

Subject:  Johns Hopkins partners with U.S. Navy to staff global humanitarian mission.

Details: Johns Hopkins Medicine has signed an agreement with the U.S. Navy to provide medical and disaster research experts to staff the USS Iwo Jima during the next four months, as the ship sets sail to provide medical assistance to Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana and Suriname.

The voyage is part of the Navy’s annual humanitarian project, Operation Continuing Promise.

Between August and early November, Johns Hopkins plans to send at least 16 experts, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, researchers and members of the Johns Hopkins Go Team, who are trained in disaster response, to staff the vessel during its humanitarian mission.

The first Johns Hopkins medical team will depart Sunday, August 8 from Baltimore-Washington International airport to meet the Iwo Jima off the coast of Colombia. The group includes: Christina Catlett, M.D., an emergency doctor and disaster expert from Johns Hopkins Hospital; Robert Dudas, M.D., director of pediatric hospitalist medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; Melisa Rios, an emergency nurse from The Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Lauren Sauer, a senior research coordinator from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 

The team will join a number of other experts from nonprofit and other organizations assisting the Navy with the Continuing Promise mission.

Future teams from Hopkins will include other members of the Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, as well as students from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

They will be helicoptered by the Navy to several preselected sites in Colombia, where they will set up medical clinics for communities in local hospitals, schools and other locations. The team will also provide training and support to local doctors and other health care providers, as well as conduct research to assess the local governments’ medical and logistical readiness for a large-scale disaster. Catlett, who is the Go Team director and worked in Haiti after the January earthquake, also will provide disaster medicine training to Navy, Marine Corps, and civilian personnel onboard the Iwo Jima.

Jim Scheulen, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), which signed the Continuing Promise agreement and is coordinating the Hopkins staffing, says the partnership is an outgrowth of work with the Navy during the Haiti earthquake relief effort earlier this year. CEPAR sent two Johns Hopkins medical teams to help staff the Navy’s floating hospital, the USNS Comfort, while it was stationed in Haiti.

CEPAR is interested in forging a stronger relationship with the Navy, Scheulen said, so it can be prepared in the future to move lifesaving medical help and other expertise into major disaster zones quickly and with the proper security and logistical support. In addition, says Scheulen, the Navy’s Operation Continuing Promise gives Hopkins and CEPAR an opportunity to share its extensive disaster medicine expertise around the globe and to study and learn from the planning, techniques and protocols that other countries have established for responding to major calamities with significant casualties.

“We are really excited about this partnership. The Navy’s Continuing Promise mission provides Hopkins with the perfect setting to learn while we are teaching, “ says Scheulen. “It’s also a great way for Hopkins to bring its world-class medical and disaster response expertise to people in remote communities around the world.”

For more background or information on CEPAR: