Weather Alert:

Children in Disasters Conference 2015: Keeping Kids Safe

WRHSAC & Mass Dept of Public Health present:
Children in Disasters Conference 2015 “Keeping Kids Safe”

This groundbreaking conference is designed for all emergency response professionals, planners and other professionals in western Massachusetts, who need to consider the safety and well-being of children as they plan for, respond to and recover from any all-hazard incident, disaster or event. We encourage Emergency Management Directors, Public Health officials, Mental Health providers, Physicians, Child Care providers, District Attorneys, and representatives from local Schools, Fire Departments, Police Departments, Emergency Medical Services, Hospitals, Community & Youth Organizations, and Faith-based Organizations to attend. Several nationally recognized speakers will present exciting information and lessons learned. Networking and audience participation will be key components of the day.

The conference is a kick-off event for a multi-phase WRHSAC project “Children In Disasters – Emergency Preparedness”. Using significant guidance from the speakers and conference attendees, WRHSAC will prioritize next steps for the region in this important area of whole community emergency preparedness. Your participation is vital to identifying these next steps.

Registration is closed for this event. Thank you for your interest!

Conference Presentations for download:

Speakers & Topics

“Children in Disasters” presented by Richard Serino. The Honorable Richard Serino is currently a “Distinguished Visiting Fellow” at Harvard University, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and a Senior Advisor at MIT’s Urban Risk Lab. Mr. Serino was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 8th Deputy Administrator in October 2009 and served until 2014. Mr. Serino was on scene at the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 as the highest-ranking official of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Administrator, he served as Chief of Boston Emergency Medical System and Assistant Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. Mr. Serino has received numerous local, national and international awards for heroism, leadership and innovation. Mr. Serino will speak from his many years of experience in response to all-hazard incidents and the direct impact these incidents have on children. He will provide ideas for best practices and note necessary areas of preparedness relationships and planning to meet the needs of children in disasters.

“Re-uniting Families” presented by Sarita Chung, MD. Dr. Chung is Director, Disaster Preparedness Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She is a member of the Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, as well as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard School of Medicine. She is actively involved in all aspects of pediatric emergency preparedness and response, including research, teaching and clinical care. She graduated with honors from the Department of Electrical Engineering, North Carolina State University and received her MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Most importantly, Dr. Chung is the proud mother of three children (ages 13, 9 and 2).Dr. Chung will speak about re-uniting families following an all-hazard incident. She will share best practices from her direct experience and expertise.

“Role Models of Resilience: Building Hope from Despair” presented by John Woodall, MD/Psychiatrist. Dr. Woodall is Founder and Director of The Unity Project. Formerly of the faculty of Harvard Medical School, he is a Board Certified psychiatrist with a special expertise in posttraumatic stress disorder and resilience. He is Co-Founder of the Healing Arts Project working with New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development after 9/11 to build resilience in the city’s children and developed similar resilience building programming in New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and in northern Uganda working with former child soldiers. Since the Newtown tragedy, he has launched a series of resilience building efforts there. He is the Director of the Center for Global Mental Health and Resilience at Western Connecticut Health Network. Per Dr. Woodall – Resilience arises from our own vast reservoir of potential talent, what we call our “dignity.” Dr. Woodall’s presentation is on how to bring out, unite around and mobilize that dignity on a large scale. Using examples from large scale efforts to build resilient communities throughout the world, Dr. Woodall will show that the struggles of life do not have to make us victims or psychological casualties, but can be the fuel to help us become beacons of hope and role models of resilience. Practical tools will be offered to help participants’ efforts to build resilience in their communities.

“Children with Complex Medical Needs” by Deborah Clapp, BA, NREMT-P. Ms. Clapp is Program Manager of the MDPH EMS for Children Project, is a nationally-registered and Massachusetts state-certified Paramedic and Instructor-Coordinator. Prior to accepting the EMSC Manager position in 2007 she served as Department Chair and Program Director of the Greenfield Community College EMS Department and Paramedic Certificate Program for 9 years. She worked in Western Massachusetts for over 20 years as an EMT, Paramedic, Supervisor, Agency Manager, Ambulance Operations Director and film industry Set Medic following her initial certification as an EMS provider in 1984. Ms. Clapp holds numerous instructor credentials and is a frequent presenter at programs and workshops for healthcare providers and child-serving agency professionals. She is a subject matter expert in childhood injury prevention for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Child Fatality Review Team and served on the Governor’s Task Force on Children in Disasters in 2012/13. She also serves as the state liaison to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ms. Clapp will speak about an array of complex medical needs of children and considerations for preparedness and response.
“Cultural Competency” by Olivia Peters, RN. Ms. Peters is the Regional Coordinator for the Division of Global Populations & Infectious Disease Prevention. Ms. Peters will provide an overview of western MA demographics related to the immigrant/refugee population, provide general information about differences between refugees and immigrants and their differing needs, explain general cultural considerations related to intervention and sheltering of different cultural groups, discuss concerns around use of children as translators and the effects of disasters as re-traumatizing events for child refugees/immigrants, and most importantly she will suggest resources for networking ahead of time as well as during/after an event.


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