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ADVISORY: Johns Hopkins Hurricane Experts Available

CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Office: 443-997-9906
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu @JHUmediareps

Information on broadcast-quality interviews with Johns Hopkins experts is here.

ISSUE: Climate and hurricane intensity
Anand Gnanadesikan, Ph.D.
Professor, Earth and planetary sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
See video of Gnanadesikan
A climate modeler, Gnanadesikan looks at the atmospheric and oceanic circulation of the tropics, including how changes in circulation can affect hurricane formation. During 2017’s devastating hurricane season, he said, “Some of the most intense hurricanes ever seen have been seen in the past few years. The predictions are that global warming will reduce the overall number of hurricanes, but increase the most intense hurricanes.”
To reach Anand Gnanadesikan, contact Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or 443-547-8805 (cell) or jrosen@jhu.edu.

ISSUE: Community resilience to major disasters
Monica Schoch-Spana, Ph.D.
Senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and visiting faculty member at the Bloomberg School of Public Health; she also holds faculty positions in anthropology at Texas State University and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
Schoch-Spana is an expert on how to collaborate effectively with private citizens, businesses, and faith- and community-based groups in efforts to strengthen community resilience to disasters and to manage catastrophic health events. “As severe weather events increase in intensity and frequency, the country needs to move from an ‘emergency response’ model of picking up pieces after a crisis to a ‘community resilience’ model of constantly evolving to withstand one in the first place.”
To reach Monica Schoch-Spana, contact Nick Alexopulos at nalexopulos@jhu.edu or 443-573-3318

ISSUE: Lessons from past hurricanes
Paul Ferraro, Ph.D.
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Business and Engineering, with faculty appointments at the Carey Business School, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Whiting School of Engineering.
“As a nation, we need to be better prepared for catastrophic floods so we can mitigate the widespread damage and loss of life. Fifty inches in a few days might be unusual, but extensive flooding with its subsequent property damage and loss of life is not. We have the tools to prepare ourselves for these events, if we’re bold enough to use them. First, get out of the flood zones – it’s a no-brainer that requires political backbone to achieve. Second, manage storm water runoff with investments in green infrastructure, traditional engineered controls, and reductions in impervious surface. … Third, deal with the two most serious behavioral problems: the abysmal uptake on flood insurance (and the subsequent government bailouts) and the unwillingness of people to evacuate. And finally, get your government representatives straight about climate change – they must stop denying the science and prepare for increased frequency of extreme events.”
Paul Ferraro expands on these points in an opinion piece published in August 2017 by Bloomberg View. To reach Ferraro, contact Tim Parsons at 410-234-9291 (parson1@jhu.edu) or Patrick Ercolano at 410-234-9296 (pae@jhu.edu)

Lauren M. Sauer, M.S.
Director, Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine
“Learning from one hurricane’s response to improve our next one is absolutely essential. Understanding the needs of the affected population, including shelter, evacuation support, daily living essentials or health care — and providing those resources efficiently and effectively — will save lives now and in the future.”
To reach Lauren M. Sauer, contact Kim Polyniak at 443-510-5807 (cell) or kpolyni1@jhmi.edu

ISSUE: Health-sector resilience and hospital preparedness
Eric Toner, M.D.
Senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Center for Health Security, and senior scientist, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public Health; emergency physician
Toner is an expert in health care preparedness for catastrophic events and health sector resilience. He collaborated with the CDC on a 2017 study examining the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the health sectors of affected areas. Immediately after 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, he wrote in The Hill, “the majority of the [post-disaster surge of] patients that present for care are likely to have routine medical needs such as medication prescriptions, management of chronic conditions, and minor illnesses and injuries, and some will require access to outpatient services such as dialysis, behavioral health, and homecare. Reestablishing access to these services and supply chains for essential medications should be a priority.”
To reach Eric Toner, contact Nick Alexopulos at nalexopulos@jhu.edu or 443-573-3318

ISSUE: Stormwater management
Ciaran Harman, Ph.D.
Professor, landscape hydrology, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
Harman is an expert in landscape hydrology, studying the movement of water through the landscape. (First name pronounced: KEER-in.) After 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, he said, “It is important to understand that, even if Houston had a world-class stormwater management system, it is unlikely to have prevented the flooding of homes and businesses built in floodways. The area is too flat and the soils too poorly drained, and there was just too much rain. Sustainable stormwater infrastructure is essential to ensuring cities can be resilient to the effects of large storms, but it is important to recognize that it has limits, and that there are some areas that will always be at risk of flooding.”
To reach Ciaran Harman, contact Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or 443-547-8805 (cell) or jrosen@jhu.edu.

Kellogg Schwab, Ph.D.
Director, Johns Hopkins Water Institute, and professor, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Schwab can speak to water safety and related health issues associated with flooding and stagnant water. (He can also talk about storm impact on sewage treatment plants.)
To reach Kellogg Schwab, contact Barbara Benham at 443-703-8851 (cell) or bbenham1@jhu.edu

ISSUE: Immediate disaster response: Health care issues; hospitals; hospital preparedness; first responders and emergency medical services

Amesh Adalja, M.D.
Senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Center for Health Security, Bloomberg School of Public Health; infectious disease physician
Dr. Adalja is an infectious disease, critical care, and emergency medicine expert. He recently published a study that identifies the characteristics of microorganisms most likely to cause a global pandemic, and he has co-authored multiple papers on health sector emergency preparedness—including a primer on Ebola for physicians. He says, “hurricanes represent a major threat to public health not only because of their initial impact but also because of the cascade of events that occur in their wake. Infectious diseases are one very real risk, as are major disruptions in healthcare delivery.”
To reach Amesh Adalja, email him at aadalja1@jhu.edu. Alternate contact: Nick Alexopulos at nalexopulos@jhu.edu or 443-573-3318

Matthew J. Levy, D.O., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Division of Special Operations, School of Medicine
“Hurricanes and other significant climatologic events can cause widespread damage across large geographic areas. Before the storm makes landfall, health-related considerations include the need to evacuate health facilities, personal preparation and heightened readiness amongst health responders, as well as the identification of vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with chronic and complex medical needs. During and immediately after the storm, the human condition turns to the most basic elements of survival and rescue of those trapped and injured. Emergency responders are often first on the scene to provide much-needed medical care. However, response may be hindered by downed trees and utility lines, as well as interruptions to critical infrastructure. As we have learned from previous disasters, long-term recovery is often measured not in months, but in years.”
To reach Matthew Levy, contact Kim Polyniak at 443-510-5807 (cell) or kpolyni1@jhmi.edu.

Lauren M. Sauer, M.S.
Director, Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine
“We will continue to see hurricanes as a direct result of climate change. Even prior to a hurricane, it is critical to consider the most vulnerable populations that will be affected by the storm and its aftermath. Protecting oneself and one’s family in a disaster requires resources, which are often expensive and limited. We must protect and prioritize the resources needed by the affected population now and in the direct aftermath of the storm.”
To reach Lauren M. Sauer, contact Kim Polyniak at 443-510-5807 (cell) or kpolyni1@jhmi.edu

Paul Spiegel, MD, MPH
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health
“Given the scale of this event, prioritization needs to occur, as not everyone will be able to be helped at the same time. Despite back-up generators, some hospitals may need to be evacuated to more secure hospitals, where electricity and infrastructure is more secure and reliable. People who take medications for chronic diseases need to ensure that they have sufficient meds and/or can get these meds. This can be complicated, and complications from diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, asthma, etc., may occur. It is important that the response takes this into account and has these medications for chronic diseases available.”
To reach Paul Spiegel, contact Barbara Benham at 443-703-8851 (cell) or bbenham1@jhu.edu

Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, FAAN
Associate professor of acute and chronic care, School of Nursing
Tener Goodwin Veenema is an internationally recognized expert in disaster nursing and public health emergency preparedness. She has served as senior consultant to the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, the Administration for Children and Families, and FEMA. “Timely and appropriate response … will require communication, collaboration and coordination across all sectors of the acute and public health care system. Nurses will be integral to these efforts, providing counsel and clinical care, implementing infection control measures, and ensuring access to health care for all. Our national nursing workforce is the steel safety net that promotes individual and population health and well-being and will help to propel our communities towards recovery.”
To reach Tener Goodwin Veebema, contact Danielle Kress at 410-955-2840 (dkress@jhu.edu); Tammy Berwanger at 410-591-0759 (tberwanger@jhu.edu); or Tener Veenema tveenem1@jhu.edu

ISSUE: Emerging diseases and health problems
Paul Spiegel, MD, MPH
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health
“With the flooding, water and sanitation is an important issue. Proper and safe places to defecate are important so that drinking water is not contaminated. Otherwise, diarrhea and skin diseases may occur, among other diseases.”
To reach Paul Spiegel, contact Barbara Benham at 443-703-8851 (cell) or bbenham1@jhu.edu

ISSUE: Mental health
Judy Bass, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Bass can speak to the mental health implications associated with all phases of a major storm – the preparation, the acute phase and the longer-term effects of recovery, loss and displacement. She can also address repeat scenarios — those who have lived through major storms — as well as how major storms can trigger pre-existing mental health issues.
To reach Judy Bass, contact Barbara Benham at 443-703-8851 (cell) or email bbenham1@jhu.edu

ISSUE: Impact on sewage treatment plants
Ed Bouwer, Ph.D.
Professor of Environmental Engineering, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering
Bouwer is an expert in water quality, environmental microbiology and wastewater treatment. He is concerned about how the severe flooding could impact local supplies of clean water. “When floodwaters overwhelm a treatment plant, untreated sewage containing pathogens could would be released, creating health risks. Also, floodwater could damage the computer circuitry used to operate modern treatment plants, delaying the process of restarting the treatment plant after the floodwaters recede.”
To reach Ed Bouwer, call his office phone, 410-516-7437, or email bouwer@jhu.edu. Alternate: contact Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or 443-547-8805 (cell) or jrosen@jhu.edu.

ISSUE: Urban food access after a disaster
Roni Neff, Ph.D.
Program director, Food Sustainability and Public Health, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; assistant professor, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public Health
She said in 2017: “Disasters such as Hurricane Harvey create follow-on crises in food access, preventing food from getting to people and people from getting to places where food is available. They also lead to food safety threats, due to food spoilage and contaminated water supplies. While everyone is affected, those hardest hit include people with lower incomes, those living in areas with less food available, older adults, and those with medically necessary diets. A disaster like Harvey can have lasting impacts, as flood waters lead to blocked food distribution routes, harm to crops and livestock, food system workers who can’t get to work (including those who have evacuated from the area), and higher gas prices, which are entwined with food prices. Our recent report demonstrates a critical need to bring food experts and stakeholders into disaster preparedness and response efforts, and provides an example of the types of planning that are needed.”
To reach Roni Neff, contact Natalie Wood-Wright at 443-287-2771 or nwoodwr1@jhu.edu

ISSUE: Training relief workers to be effective communicators
Elizabeth Serlemitsos, MBA, MPH
Director of the Center for Communication Programs’ Breakthrough ACTION project and leader of CCP’s work in West Africa during and after the 2014 Ebola outbreak
“Something that is often overlooked is that people also will likely need psychological and social support, which is not limited to where and how to access information and services. It also includes the need for improved interpersonal skills for crisis responders, to ensure that the words of responders help, and don’t hurt, people in a very stressful time.” Damage from a major hurricane, she said in 2017, “will be with us for a long time, and communication has a critical role to play in the response to the ongoing crisis.”
To reach Elizabeth Serlemitsos, contact Stephanie Desmon at 410-530-5876 or sdesmon1@jhu.edu

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