FAIRBORN – The Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is a group of medical professionals who are trained to come together and handle immediate disaster situations, and it includes the Fairborn area as having the first model of a nationwide effort.
It hosted its inaugural meeting last week at the Hope Hotel.
“We have been attempting to put together a society of disaster medicine and public health,” Dr. James James, director of the SDMPH, said. “The goals of that society are to create a discipline that is cross-disciplinary and doesn’t just involve doctors, nurses or public health, but all of the above.”
James hopes the society provides training and educational experiences for those wishing to assist during disaster situations. Volunteers can self-identify as individuals who can perform during emergency circumstances.
Fairborn became the society’s home after James worked with Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick, who is also an Air Force retiree, in its educational pieces to the program.
The society looked for specific criteria in selecting the area for which it would host its first meeting.
“We wanted it to be in a central area, especially one that had a high concentration of known medical volunteers,” James said. “We also wanted to do it in an area with a training capacity with courses, and through Dan we have that capability. We had the physical presence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base … and I think military systems are so important, both as a model and as a supporter for preparedness and response. Also, Wright State University. We have all the elements here; from a simple resource perspective, it makes more sense given what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The society already includes training centers in each state, and more than 200,000 people have been educated. James feels that disaster medicine and public health is a group-effort and not an individual activity.
“I would like this to serve as a model for where we’re going on a national level,” James said.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532