Nebraska Medicine Earns $3 Million Disaster Response Grant

One of the metro's top hospitals has received a national grant to help victims of natural disasters.

The $3 million grant from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will showcase how a new Regional Disaster Health Response System could meet the needs of distaer victims, whose needs can overwhelm local hospitals. The goal of the grant is to provide trauma, burn or other specialty care during a national emergency, and in turn, save more lives.

Nebraska Medicine, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, received the grants to conduct pilot projects that show the potential effectiveness of a Regional Disaster Health Response System.

“This demonstration grant provides an incredible opportunity to further advance preparedness in our state,” said Shelly Schwedhelm, MSN, RN, executive director of emergency management and biopreparedness at Nebraska Medicine.  “The activities of the grant will create a sustainable model of communication, coordination, and collaboration between Nebraska coalitions, EMS, public health, health care, emergency management and various other community organizations and resources. We have the opportunity to innovate and create a model that will not only serve Nebraskans but will be an example for others across the nation.”

The Regional Disaster Health Response System will build on local health care coalitions and trauma centers, creating a tiered system of disaster care. The system is envisioned to integrate local medical response capabilities with emergency medical services, burn centers, pediatric hospitals, public health labs, and outpatient services; to meet the overwhelming health care needs created by disasters.

“This is a clear demonstration of how our disaster preparedness skills are viewed,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and chair of the Nebraska Medicine board. “We have a proven track record. We are honored to be selected from among 19 outstanding applicants. My congratulations to all who made this grant a reality. We couldn’t be more proud.”

A panel of experts from professional associations, academia, and federal agencies selected Nebraska Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital for the project.

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