Maximizing Utility of a Deployable Medical Team from an Academic Medical Center to a Disaster



Deployable medical teams from academic medical centers (AMCs) can be a valuable adjunct to military and NGO response to disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2009, Johns Hopkins created and trained a scalable, rapidly deployable team of nearly 200 healthcare workers and staff from many disciplines. In 2010 the team deployed groups to the Haiti earthquake which provided valuable lessons regarding utility and implementation of such a team. Partnerships with established response organizations are key. Flexibility of the team's structure allows rapid response to evolving needs of requesting agencies, prevents institutional disruption, and sustains response. Careful management of team logistics is critical to the health, welfare, and security of the team. Complex human resource issues must be anticipated and addressed. Finally, AMCs must be willing and able to absorb some costs associated with the response, even when deploying with well-funded and highly resourced agencies.