ProfNet Wire: Health & Medicine: Impact of Hurricanes Katrina/Rita

Released: 9/30/2005 12:20 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Profnet, PRNewswire
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ROUND-UP: IMPACT OF HURRICANES KATRINA/RITA (continued)

Following are experts who can discuss the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (While experts were submitted as part of a round-up on the impact of Hurricane Katrina, they most likely will also be able to discuss the impact of Hurricane Rita.)

Additional updates to the round-up will be posted at http://profnet.prnewswire.com/organik/orbital/thewire/lst_leads.jsp?iLRTopicID =10923 You may also find helpful our wiki-based resource of academic experts: http://www.katrinaexperts.com

**1. RICARDO WRAY, assistant professor of community health at SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY's School of Public Health: "Have federal and municipal officials done a good job informing the public about what they need to do to stay safe during Hurricane Rita? The fact that all those people were stuck on the highway is a function that government officials got the word out better and people listened. However, it doesn’t do any good to promote services that aren’t available or plans of action that people can’t accomplish.� Wray also can discuss the challenges of communicating with Texas’ large Hispanic population.

**2. JOANNE LANGAN, assistant professor of nursing at SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY's Doisy College of Health Sciences, is the co-author of a book on preparing nurses to handle the aftermath of a disaster: "The double whammy of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is likely to take a toll on health care workers in the South. Nurses and doctors who have cared for Hurricane Katrina survivors evacuated to Houston probably are feeling exhausted. They are spent and have given as much as they can. After three weeks, they need to go home and refresh. That’s about as much as anybody can do.�

**3. HILARY KLEIN, M.D., vice chair of the department of psychiatry at SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY School of Medicine, has treated survivors of Hurricane Katrina who are now in St. Louis, and says living through a disaster takes a significant toll on mental health: “The urgency and intensity of the problems they come in with is striking. Some of these people were receiving less-than- adequate medical care to begin with.�

**4. KATHY KRESS, food-safety expert and assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences at SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY, says ice is the secret ingredient to keeping food inside a refrigerator cool after a power outage: “Fill empty plastic gallon milk jugs with water and freeze them ahead of time to create your own blocks of ice, or buy freezer gel packs.� Kress also can talk about how to pack a refrigerator for maximum cooling, what you can save and what you should pitch after a power outage, and how to clean your kitchen after flooding.

**5. DR. THOMAS DEMARIA, Ph.D., administrative director of behavioral health sciences at SOUTH NASSAU COMMUNITIES HOSPITAL in Oceanside, N.Y., and recognized expert in traumatic stress counseling who applies his experience from Sept. 11, was called in by the federal mental health agency coordinating relief to hurricane Katrina victims to lead a mission to organize assistance for persons whose lives, and mental well-being, were disrupted by the hurricane: "We experienced the extent and nature of mass casualty impacts and witnessed first-hand the extent of devastation to property and to people. As we learned from Sept. 11, careful planning must occur to develop counseling and community support programs to assist in the complex recovery from devastating traumatic events."

**6. ALLEN JAMES, president of RISE (RESPONSIBLE INDUSTRY FOR A SOUND ENVIRONMENT): "Insect and rodent populations increase rapidly after disasters like hurricanes, due to vast supplies of food and ample harborage among abandoned homes. The potential for the spread of disease from pests like flies, mosquitoes and rats often rivals that of the polluted waters. Pest- control products applied properly in these affected areas help protect the public health and safety of those cleaning up after the disaster and residents moving back into their communities.�

**7. DR. STEPHEN LIU, CEO of INGENIOUS MED, a provider of handheld software to improves billing collections and physician communications, can discuss how using handheld computing devices with charge-capture solutions can ensure that patient information is always available from the bedside or any location: “At a Baton Rouge hospital during the recent hurricanes, physicians were able to efficiently discharge non-emergency patients. With the help of handheld computers and charge-capture solutions, the physicians could enter code status, location of patient, the referring physician, name of PCP, assignment of professional fees and comments on a checkout sheet. It enabled the hospital to keep track of the care provided to each patient and allowed communication between the hospitalists and doctors for scheduling and patient ‘hand-offs.’"

**8. DR. KATHLEEN HALL of THE STRESS INSTITUTE is a hurricane survivor and can provide expert commentary on extreme stress: "As those in the path of Hurricane Rita gather family and possessions to escape, they experience the highest stress levels imaginable. Managing stress properly is crucial to surviving a disaster and the aftermath." Hall's tips include creating calm out of chaos; utilizing mental, physical and spiritual grounding; surrendering ego; embracing compassion from others; moving your body; and eating foods that increase serotonin. Featured by NBC's "Today" and CNN, Hall is available for interviews nationwide. Phone: +1-770-953-2040 (9/30/05)

**9. CHARLES MONSON, co-founder of ABUCK4CHUCK.COM: "Disabled victims of Hurricane Rita and Katrina are often most affected by these tragedies, as many have been removed from their homes without their primary source of mobility and freedom -- their wheelchairs. Some didn't make it out of their homes because of their disabilities." Monson can also discuss ways disabled people can properly fit their wheelchairs to foster the most optimal quality of life. He currently leads a group of 30 volunteers collecting unwanted, used wheelchairs who are fixing and working to send them to disabled victims of Rita and Katrina.

**10. SHERRIE RAZ, doctor of clinical psychology and a registered traumatologist, is an expert of effective family disaster planning and post- traumatic stress, two critical issues in the media. Raz is the spokesperson for StormTips.com, a comprehensive site that helps visitors weather the storms before, during and after. Raz, has many years of teaching and hands-on experience in the field of mental health traumatology in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and was part of the rescue missions at The World Trade Center, Florida hurricanes and tsunami relief in Indonesia. She is a member of FEMA's Disaster Medical Assistance Team Fl. -3 of Homeland Security, and the inventor of the Mobil Stress Reduction Unit for the front lines and Applied Neuro-Technology Systems I for stress reduction. Raz is also a leading authority in mental health crisis management and can address numerous topics related to disaster recovery and future preparation.

**11. JAY PEITZER, M.D., medical director of VITAS INNOVATIVE HOSPICE CARE, can tell his first-hand tale of being on FEMA's volunteer DMAT (disaster medical assistance team) and taking care of more than 1,300 Katrina victims with his teammates. He is particularly interested in discussing the role of end-of-life care as it relates to disaster victims, and how hospice care needs to be administered to terminally ill patients for pain management and spiritual reasons.

**12. DR. RICHARD A. CHAIFETZ, CEO of COMPSYCH, a provider of employee assistance, can discuss the psychological impact of disaster. A nationally known expert often quoted in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, Chaifetz is also a neuropsychologist and can explain the long-term effects of witnessing death and disaster, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and relationship issues. ComPsych has been helping thousands of displaced Gulf Coast residents with counseling and support services.

**13. MARIE JOHNSON, LCSW, director of THE HELP GROUP’S CHILD & FAMILY CENTER, is currently leading a team supporting Katrina evacuees in Los Angeles. On a daily basis, Johnson manages the mental health service for 250-plus children and families each week throughout L.A. County. She has extensive experience in crisis counseling (23+ years). Following the riots in South Central L.A. in 1995, she developed an after-school program for children who had been impacted by the violence they witnessed. She also was instrumental in coordinating a rapid response to the Farmers Market tragedy in Santa Monica, Calif.

**14. MARK HARTMAN, executive vice president of operations at CARDINAL HEALTH, distributor of medical, lab and pharmaceutical products, is an expert on the life-critical supply chain of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and time- sensitive medicines. He implemented Cardinal's Emergency Preparedness Program in the Gulf focusing on relief efforts, including logistical preparations for Katrina and Rita, and business continuity measures in the wake of these hurricanes.

**15. RICHARD GARFIELD, DRPH, RN, clinical professor of international nursing at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, is a leading expert on the public health implications of disasters and on disaster recovery. He assisted with relief efforts in Indonesia following the tsunami.

**16. DR. JENNIFER HARTSTEIN, psychiatrist at New York's MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER, is available to talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in children. She can also address the effect on children of all the disaster coverage.

**17. DR. LYNN TAN, psychiatrist at New York's MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER, is available to talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in children. She can also address the effect on children of all the disaster coverage. Tan counseled victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy.

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LEADS

**1. DERMATOLOGY: MELANOMA DRAMATICALLY ON THE RISE IN KIDS. JOSHUA L. FOX, dermatologist and founder of ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY and THE CENTER FOR LASER AND COSMETIC SURGERY, advises parents on how to protect children from this deadly form of skin cancer: "More kids than ever before are being diagnosed with the skin cancer melanoma, which used to be almost exclusively a disease of adults. Melanoma usually develops many years after excessive sun exposure as a child, with 80 percent of a person’s lifetime skin exposure typically occurring before the age of 18. Between 1973 and 2001, the incidence of pediatric melanoma rose by 2.9 percent per year, about 80 percent overall. The risk is greatest for white children, girls, older kids and those who have had the most exposure to the sun."

**2. HEALTH: COUPLES UNABLE TO CONCEIVE SHOULD NOT LOSE HOPE BEFORE TESTING, COUNSELING. MARK P. LEONDIRES, M.D., FACOG, fertility specialist, board- certified reproductive endocrinologist and medical director at REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASSOCIATES OF CONNECTICUT: "For couples trying to achieve pregnancy, it can be discouraging to learn that they may be experiencing fertility problems. Knowing where to turn, when to seek treatment and what to expect from preconception [fertility] counseling and testing in advance can help couples relax during what can be a difficult time in their lives. Couples need to know that if they seek treatment early they have approximately an 80 percent chance of achieving their dream. Before their first visit, many patients are frustrated and unsure of what to expect from fertility counseling. We begin by advising couples on steps that will help them optimize chances for conception, things like fertile times of the month, ovulation detection and lifestyle changes that can affect fertility."

**3. HEALTH: CYTOGENETIC CANCER TESTING ENDS ONE-SIZEâ€"FITS-ALL DIAGNOSIS. GEORGE HOLLENBERG, M.D., board-certified pathologist and founding director of ACUPATH LABORATORIES, INC.: "When it comes to cancer, the more information that can be determined during the initial diagnosis, the easier it is to create an individualized follow-up plan for each patient. Now, thanks to advances in the area of testing called cytogenetics, cancer diagnoses are being delivered with much more data than ever before, which could spell the end of the one-size-fits-all diagnosis for cancer patients. These cutting-edge tests can determine not only the type of cancer present, but also whether or not the patient has one or more genetic abnormalities that could affect the success of treatment or the chance of recurrence. While some patients may be aware of or suspect their own genetic problems, thanks to well-documented family history, many others are in the dark about how their genes might affect their cancer."

**4. SPORTS MEDICINE: TENNIS ELBOW SIDELINES MORE THAN JUST TENNIS ENTHUSIASTS. KEVIN PLANCHER, leading New York-area orthopaedist, sports medicine expert and official orthopaedic surgeon of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams, can discuss prevention and effective new treatment options for the more than 4 million sufferers: "For the vast majority of Americans who don’t play racquet sports, tennis elbow is one diagnosis they don’t expect to hear. Yet, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, only five percent of the more than 4 million people diagnosed with this overuse injury are tennis players. Most of those who suffer from tennis elbow develop it from repetitive stress or motion during work-related tasks or hobbies, or through other sports like golf or baseball."


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