UH Manoa will manage $4.1 million grant to enhance Pacific emergency preparedness

GIS/GPS technologies a key element in planning and training

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Ann Sakaguchi, (808) 956-8454
UH Manoa College of Social Sciences
Posted: Oct 17, 2005

A broad-based consortium of public and private health educators and health services providers has been awarded a $4.1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). It is one of only 19 continuing education grants awarded across the nation to institutions including Yale New Haven Health System, University of California San Francisco, Columbia University, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, and University of Minnesota.

The grant, to be managed by the Department of Anthropology in the UH Manoa College of Social Sciences, comes through the Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program. It will create Pacific EMPRINTS — Pacific Emergency Management, Preparedness and Response Information Network and Training Services.

"Our goal is to train health professionals in Hawaiʻi, California and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands," said principal investigator Ann Sakaguchi. "We envision extensive use of distance education technologies and on-line courses, in addition to face-to-face classes and multidisciplinary, live-training scenarios in the field.

"The target incidents are the wide ranging threats we face today in the so-called B-NICE grouping, she adds, "These are Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical and Explosives terrorism and other public health emergencies, and our training will enhance the safety of both first responders and the communities they protect."

The grant envisions a cadre of health professionals better equipped to recognize terrorist and other public health emergencies, to meet the acute needs of their respective populations, to more easily coordinate responses to terrorist events, and to quickly and effectively communicate threats and response to the public at the community, state and national levels.

As part of the Pacific EMPRINTS curriculum, geographic information system (GIS) mapping and spatial analysis training will be provided to health professionals involved in management, preparedness and response to terrorist events and other emergencies. Embedding GIS and global positioning system (GPS) technologies within health systems can dramatically enhance problem solving and decision making processes and assist health professionals in identifying and responding more effectively to these kinds of emergencies.

Funding is for three years beginning September 1, 2005. The Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program was created with the passage of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.

Collaborating Organizations

UH Manoa - College of Social Sciences; School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene; College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Kapiʻolani Community College - Department of Emergency Medical Services

East-West Center

Environmental Systems Research Institute (ERSI)

Pacific Public Health Training Center - (UCLA, UC-Berkeley, San Diego State University and Loma Linda University)

State of Hawaiʻi - State Civil Defense; Department of Health

Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi