Global Innovation Fund awarded to disaster response and preparedness project

Global Innovation Fund awarded to disaster response and preparedness project

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides are increasing, resulting in a more pressing need for communities to have systematic disaster preparedness plans and response policies in place.

Health system barriers include low provider knowledge and skills to manage emergency preparedness and limited organizational capacity for preparedness and response within healthcare systems and between healthcare systems and communities.

A new project, funded by the UW Office of Global Affairs Global Innovation Fund and led by faculty from the Center for Global Health Nursing, aims to address this issue.

Pamela Kohler and Sarah Gimbel

The project, Global Health Partnerships in Disaster Preparedness and Response, will develop a collaborative, innovative and sustainable study abroad program and common research agenda with health science schools at UW, Tohoku University in Japan, Kathmandu University in Nepal, and Universidad San Marcos in Peru. The work will target emergency response from a clinical perspective.

“The School of Nursing is leading the charge with this project and brings together health and public service partners from academia and practice to develop this partnership,” said Dr. Sarah Gimbel, UW Assistant Professor of Family Child Nursing and co-director of the UW Center for Global Health Nursing.

Gimbel co-leads the project with Dr. Pamela Kohler, UW Assistant Professor of Psychosocial and Community Health.

“This project is innovative because it fosters interdisciplinary work, partnering with countries that have varying levels of economic development and many types of social organizations,” Gimbel said. “It leverages expertise from top universities around the world to provide a unique opportunity for students working at the intersection of health sciences and the environment.”

UW is planning to host a meeting where each university will come together to start the planning process.

“Our hope is that this program will not only be a rich opportunity for student training, but also that any activities would bring a meaningful and positive impact to the communities we serve,” Kohler said.

Other UW faculty involved include Wendy Freitag, Academic Director, Masters of Infrastructure Planning and Management, Fumio Ohuchi Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, and Joseph Zunt, Professor Department of Global Health.