Disaster Research Response Workshop
In the past decade, preparedness and response capacities of government agencies, hospitals and clinics, public health agencies, and academic institutions in the United States and abroad have been challenged by a succession of public health emergencies ranging from radiological threats to pandemics to earthquakes. Each of these emergencies has yielded important information and lessons learned that can inform future disaster response and recovery efforts. However, important information that needs to be collected during and immediately following these emergencies is often missed because of barriers and obstacles to gathering such data.
The Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hosted a public workshop that examined strategies and diversified partnerships to enable methodologically and ethically sound public health and medical research during future emergencies. Specific goals included discussions of:
Ensuring adequate protections for human research participants, including informed consent during emergencies.
Issues and new efforts in development to enable institutions to utilize central Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) for public health emergencies
Strategies and resources to help support timely research by investigators and research institutions while reducing deployment times and administrative burden.
o Decision-making triggers to activate identified research efforts
o Important infrastructure gaps and short-term opportunities to advance research responses.
Effective integration and implementation of research efforts alongside of life-saving emergency response activities & platforms (e.g., logistics, communications, access, safety)
o Opportunities and challenges associated with establishing “researcher response” teams.
Improved involvement and coordination between government, academia, and the community to facilitate needed research infrastructure and timely responses, including utilization of “citizen science” into a research response framework.