Disaster Research Response (DR2) is a multi-faceted outreach program designed to fast-track disaster research by developing emergency management partnerships with first responders, emergency management agencies, the community, and public health providers that can be rapidly mobilized in the event of a natural or manmade disaster or an infectious disease outbreak.
This project collaborates with the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) to develop strategic plans and ongoing initiatives for disaster response. By building upon our strong history of working with communities in post-disaster settings, we will examine environmentally-linked human health threats and devise multi-level education and intervention programs for preparation, response, and communication.
Additionally, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has been working with hospitals located in disaster-prone, high-risk areas to prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises during a disaster. Dr. Croisant and Dr. Elferink have established direct ties with the UTMB Clinical Emergency Response Unit to implement clinical countermeasures, enhance drug development and testing, and model potential disaster protocols. They have partnered with local, state, and regional disaster preparedness and response initiatives, including the Texas Department of State Health Services and Health and Human Services Region 6 (TALON: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico). UTMB serves as an “anchor hospital” for Region 6 infectious disease epidemic response and training and thus provides the infrastructure for us to develop first responder training for environmental health disasters.