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Johns Hopkins sources for stories on the Haiti earthquake

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Media Advisory

January 14, 2010

TO: Reporters, editors, producers

FROM: Amy Lunday | 443-287-9960 | acl@jhu.edu

[See items below for information on how to contact specific experts]

RE: Johns Hopkins sources for stories on the Haiti earthquake

For stories related to the earthquake in Haiti, consider the following sources from The Johns Hopkins University. Listed with each source is a brief description of his or her area of expertise. Contact information for each source is included below.

Healthcare in Haiti

Elizabeth (Beth) Sloand, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, has spent considerable time in Haiti over the past 10 years as clinician, researcher, and teacher. She is extremely knowledgeable regarding the capabilities and limitations of its infrastructure and health systems. “Haiti has a way of getting under your skin and into your soul,” said Sloand. “I, like many others, feel I have little choice but to continue returning to Haiti to do whatever I can to help.”

Sloand just returned from Haiti in October leading a multidisciplinary medical mission team in the Jérémie area of Haiti and plans to return with public health nursing students in late February. She has spent much of her personal time in a rural clinic in southwest Haiti providing care to villagers for problems like infections, injuries, chronic hypertension, and malnutrition.

Reporters wishing to speak with Sloand on emergency and ongoing health care issues in Haiti should contact Lynn Schultz-Writsel, director of the Office of Marketing and Communications at The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 410-955-7552 (office), 571-228-8309 (cell) or lwritsel@jhmi.edu.

Structural Engineering

Nicholas P. Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and a professor of civil engineering, is a highly regarded structural engineering expert and has conducted research in earthquake engineering. To arrange an interview with Jones, please contact Abby Lattes by calling (410) 516-6852 (office phone) or 410-292-1749 (cell phone) or by sending e-mail to alattes@jhu.edu.

Water Quality

Edward Bouwer, professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering, is a water quality expert. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, he can field questions about drinking water supplies, wastewater treatment and public health issues related to water- and food-borne diseases. Reporters who wish to interview Bouwer should contact Phil Sneiderman, senior media relations representative, by calling 443-287-9960 or sending e-mail to prs@jhu.edu.

An international perspective

Johns Hopkins can offer many sources at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies who can speak to reporters on topics such as United States foreign policy toward Haiti; the historical perspective of Haiti; Haiti’s economic and political systems; Central America and the Caribbean; humanitarian crises and international relief efforts in general; foreign aid; and the United Nations. For information, contact Felisa Neuringer Klubes, director of communications and marketing, at 202-663-5626 or fklubes@jhu.edu.

Medical help for children during disasters

Dr. William Moss, is an associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. He was chief editor of the WHO’s Manual for the Care of Children in Humanitarian Emergencies, which provides guidelines for care of trauma, diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, measles, malaria, malnutrition and other conditions for children and newborns in crisis settings. Moss can discuss the care of children in disasters, particularly the need to standardize and coordinate care. He can also talk about some of the problems that might arise after the acute situation. More info about the manual is available online. Reporters interested in interviewing Moss should contact Tim Parsons, director of public affairs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.

Evaluating mental health needs and treatment after a disaster

Judith Bass is an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health and a faculty member in the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response (CRDR) in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bass’s focus is on developing methods for evaluation of mental health needs in complex situations – including post-disaster and low-resource settings, and evaluating treatment models to meet these needs. She has extensive experience conducting qualitative and quantitative needs assessments, validating assessment tools and evaluating interventions internationally, working with populations affected by war and trauma. Domestically, she recently collaborated with the Memorial Hospital Foundation in Gulfport, Miss., on a Red Cross-funded monitoring program of school-based counseling services for youth affected by Hurricane Katrina. Bass is the author of numerous scientific articles and textbook chapters. She regularly presents at national and international conferences, particularly those related to trauma-affected populations, most recently including the 2009 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), and 2009 International Conference on Urban Health. She recently co-edited a special issue of the Interventions Journal on Mixed Methods for Mental Health Research in Complex Emergencies. Reporters interested in interviewing Bass should contact Tim Parsons, director of public affairs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.

Medical disaster experts

Dr. Christina Catlett, a Johns Hopkins emergency physician, has extensive experience responding to disasters, including helping to lead teams of doctors and other medical experts on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan. She is familiar with Haiti’s public-health infrastructure, having co-lead three medical missions to the Central Plateau region of the island for Project Medishare for Haiti. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping that country develop and improve public health services. Catlett also is the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Go Team, a ready reserve of Johns Hopkins medical experts who can respond quickly to major catastrophes anywhere in the United States. This team includes a cross-spectrum of experts, including physicians, nurses, mental health providers and others. She is also the associate director for health system preparedness at the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) and an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She has developed detailed medical response strategies for major disasters involving casualties.

Dr. Thomas Kirsch, a Johns Hopkins emergency physician, has extensive experience responding to major disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Andrew, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and California wildfires. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he directed an 80-member medical team on the ground in Southern Louisiana assisting victims of the catastrophe. Immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Kirsch served for a month on the ground, directing first-aid response and serving as public liaison for the American Red Cross. He also has lectured and written extensively on medical and public health responses to earthquake disasters. For the past 15 years, he has served as the national physician advisor for the American Red Cross Disaster Health Services, and has consulted on disaster-related issues for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Centers for Disease Control and the United States Agency for International Development (Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance). Kirsch has extensive international experience and has been involved in disaster response, education and research for 20 years. Kirsch also has lectured nationally and internationally on a variety of health issues. He  teaches “Public Health Issues in Disasters” at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is the director of the Johns Hopkins Wilderness Medicine Course.

To arrange for a phone or broadcast interview with Catlett or Kirsch, please contact Mark Guidera, communications manager with Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications: 443-898-2320 or mguider1@jhmi.edu. Attention national TV media: Johns Hopkins has a VYVX line in our live-remote studio available to uplink interviews with our experts.


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