Source Newsroom: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Newswise — With weather forecasters predicting multiple hurricanes before the end of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season, faculty members at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have advice that can help coastal residents weather a storm. Interviews on disaster preparedness, traumatic injuries associated with storms and a host of other storm-related issues can be arranged by calling the UTHealth Media Hotline at 713.500.3030.
Robert Emery, DrPH, vice president of safety, health, environment and risk management at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is available to discuss the university's disaster preparation efforts, which included the installation of flood doors at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston to prevent flooding in the aftermath of the Tropical Storm Allison. Emery, who is also an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at The University of Texas School of Public Health, can address safety issues associated with hurricane preparations.
Lex Frieden and Kim Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., both on the faculty of The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston, organized the Disability Emergency Assistance Project to help people with disabilities affected by Hurricane Ike. The project continues in conjunction with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services to provide relocation and other assistance to people with disabilities. People with disabilities can also access a Web site called www.disability911.com for disaster preparedness advice.
Carmel B. Dyer, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, led a team of healthcare workers who devised a rapid needs assessment tool, Seniors Without Families Triage (SWiFT), for evacuees who arrived at the Houston Astrodome after Hurricane Katrina. She also testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging about disaster preparedness for seniors. She can speak about what seniors and health providers need to know before a disaster hits, as well as what to do in the aftermath of a major event.
DIETARY NEEDS DURING OUTAGES
Donna Logan, registered dietitian with The University of Texas Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, can address planning for the family's nutritional needs following a storm, how much food and water to have on hand, healthy options for the pantry, and food safety issues following power outages. For more information on emergency preparedness for families, visit http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf.
NURSING FACILITIES AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Diane Persson, Ph.D., program manager of the Center on Aging at The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, says some nursing facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas were not fully prepared for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She surveyed facilities across the Lone Star State and reported her findings in a Journal of Gerontological Nursing article titled Surviving the Storms: Emergency Preparedness in Texas Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities
CHILDBIRTH DURING TIME OF CRISIS
Pamela Berens, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, can address concerns for women who are near the end of their pregnancy when a storm is approaching. She can answer questions about what supplies women need to have on-hand, what to do if they are evacuating to another city and what to do if they go into labor during a storm.
Alisa Sanders, R.N., a board-certified lactation consultant, can address the nutritional needs of infants and women who are breastfeeding. For more information on nursing during an emergency, visit http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/InfantNutritionDisaster.pdf. Sanders is with The University of Texas Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Program at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
TRAUMA INJURIES ASSOCIATED WITH HURRICANES
Richard N. Bradley, M.D., chief of EMS and Disaster Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, can discuss hurricane preparation injuries which include falls from ladders as well as mishaps with power tools.
Brent King, M.D., professor and chairman of emergency medicine at The University of Medical School at Houston, can address the types of traumatic injuries suffered by people while cleaning up after a hurricane. Some people experience cuts or puncture wounds while moving storm debris. Others may experience strains or sprains.
James McCarthy, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and medical director of the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center, can address hurricane-related emergency rooms visits. Visits range from complications of evacuation such as heat stroke and heart attacks to injuries from the storm itself, such as flying debris and exposure. He can also discuss injuries related to storm clean-up such as chain saw mishaps, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning from generator usage. McCarthy also can talk about patients with chronic medical needs such as dialysis, diabetes and asthma who arrive at the emergency room after the local infrastructure is damaged.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING AND GENERATORS
Caroline Fife, M.D., associate professor of medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and an attending physician at Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center, can address generator misuse that sent some children to a hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning following Hurricane Ike. Some were playing video games with generators close by. To read the study, click Dying to Play Video Games: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Electrical Generators Used After Hurricane Ike. All of the patients were treated at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS
Herbert DuPont, M.D., is a professor of infectious diseases and director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas School of Public Health. With over 30 years of experience, DuPont can address infectious diseases that may arise in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Kristy Murray, DVM, Ph.D., a former CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, is assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health. She is able to discuss vector borne diseases which include West Nile, dengue, and other bacterial and viral diseases. Vectors include mosquitoes and ticks.
Thomas Stock, Ph.D., is associate professor of environmental sciences at The University of Texas School of Public Health. Stock is available to discuss indoor and outdoor air quality, specifically problems of using combustion devices such as gasoline-powered generators inside or even near open windows.
Irina Cech, Ph.D., is a professor of environmental sciences at The University of Texas School of Public Health. Cech is able to discuss hurricane precaution, water quality, water contamination and health risks. Cech can also speak on emergency measures and post-hurricane clean-up for users of rural/domestic water wells.
PARENTING DURING TIME OF CRISIS
Michael Assel, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, has advice for parents on how to talk with their children about an approaching hurricane, the need to shelter-in-place or evacuate and dealing with the aftermath of a storm. Assel is a child psychologist at the university's Children's Learning Institute.