Children’s Health Fund (CHF) has provided urgently needed care to children, families and communities affected by disasters since 1992, when mobile medical units were dispatched to Florida to aid victims of Hurricane Andrew. In the past 21 years, CHF has developed a broad portfolio of expertise in developing and supporting clinical programs that effectively respond to the unique health care needs of children affected by disasters.
Since 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, CHF has worked in partnership with NCDP in developing and implementing a series of multi-faceted research and disaster response initiatives. These efforts have helped scores of severely devastated communities to endure and recover from the ravages of disaster.
A key component of CHF/NCDP collaboration is the focus on leveraging research opportunities to inform preparedness planning and setting of priorities for allocation of response resources. The following are examples of CHF/NCDP joint research projects:
- Operation Assist: Surveys and Needs Assessments
- Gulf Coast Child & Family Health Study
- Gulf Coast Population Impact Project (Phase 1)
CHF/NCDP partnership activities have also served to support planning and implementation of critical policy initiatives that have and continue to directly influence federal preparedness and response priorities and programs. Much of this has evolved out of Dr. Redlener’s advocacy work as a member of the congressionally-appointed National Commission on Children and Disasters (2008-2011). Commission recommendations have shaped policy development in many areas, including the following:
- Establishment of Children’s HHS Interagency Leadership on Disasters (CHILD) Working Group to facilitate “identification and comprehensive integration of activities related to the needs of children across all HHS disaster planning activities and operations”.
- Creation of DHS/FEMA Children in Disaster Guidance (2012) to allow Homeland Security Grant Programs awards can be used to “enhance existing or establish new children specific planning and preparedness initiatives”.
- Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (2013) which establishes the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters and supports collaboration of key federal agencies.