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Johns Hopkins Go Team Participation in the US Navy’s 2011 Continuing Promise Mission
The Johns Hopkins Go Team joined the US Navy’s Continuing Promise humanitarian mission again in 2011, this time aboard the USNS Comfort in Jamaica and Costa Rica, two countries that specifically requested more advanced disaster training.
Dr. Christina Catlett, the Johns Hopkins Go Team director and a disaster expert, and Go Team member Sara Evans PA-C led a 2-day disaster course at the Kingston Ministry of Health for 30 of its leaders, medical and public health officers, local hospitals and paramedics. Topics included building a hospital emergency management program, natural disasters, mental health aspects of disasters, mass casualty management, and a disaster tabletop exercise designed to engage all participants.
The tabletop exercise solidified concepts taught earlier in the course and allowed the host nation to identify potential gaps in response capability. The Go Team also partnered with 7 military staff to implement a 1-day seminar on basic and advanced disaster life support for 25 Jamaican physicians, nurses, and paramedics which included 2 didactic presentations and 8-10 skills stations.
Costa Rica Mission
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
In conjunction with HM’s from the USNS Comfort’s Training Directorate, Dr. Catlett co-led a 2 day Tactical Medicine course for 45 Costa Rican first responders including Cruz Roja (paramedics), firefighters, police, Special Forces, and tactical physicians. Topics included battlefield medicine, resuscitation, mass casualty triage, and life-saving skills stations.
In addition, the Comfort deployed a Nighthawk helicopter to the course (held at the Coast Guard Station) to teach participants helicopter safety, packaging/loading/unloading of patients, and safe extrication and casualty evacuation under fire.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Dr. Catlett, Lauren Sauer and Gai Cole led a 2-day disaster symposium at the Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela in San Jose. There were 63 attendees from the leadership of La Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE; similar to FEMA in the US), Programa Institucional de Emergencias (PIE), Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), the US Embassy, USAID OFDA, the Comfort, firefighters, Cruz Roja, police, special forces, and local hospitals.
Topics included hospital disaster planning, an overview of the US National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the importance of incident command, a panel discussion of US an Costa Rican DMAT and USAR operations and exchange of best practices, mental health aspects of disasters, and morbidity/mortality associated with natural disasters. The symposium culminated in an interactive 3 hour tabletop exercise on an earthquake in the NW region of Costa Rica.