The AAP aims to identify one or more "pediatric champions" or chapter contacts who can work to initiate and mobilize disaster preparedness and response efforts in every state. In some states an experienced pediatrician is partnering with and mentoring a pediatric resident or medical student. A disaster preparedness contact can be someone who is willing to learn more about supporting children after a disaster or a member who is interested in even just one of the following:
- Improving personal disaster preparedness.
- Enhancing office and/or hospital readiness.
- Helping families prepare an emergency kit and develop a disaster plan.
- Improving state and local emergency readiness.
Chapter contacts can focus on specialty or interest areas (eg, community pediatrics, critical care, emergency medicine, infectious diseases [influenza], medical home, or public health). Pediatric leaders and public health decision-makers can work together to mobilize state or AAP chapter disaster preparedness contacts and connect these individuals to relevant preparedness planning and response efforts. For a list of current disaster preparedness contacts, please see State Initiatives.
Responsibilities of Chapter Contacts for Disaster Preparedness
The AAP chapter contact for disaster preparedness and response position is voluntary, however, pediatrician contacts must be a member of the respective chapter and must be approved by chapter leaders. The responsibilities and initiatives of the position can be diverse based on the needs within the state or region and can represent the interests or expertise of those leading these efforts. Each contact can do as little or as much as they like. The responsibilities of a chapter contact are to:
- Serve as the main point of contact to encourage Chapter disaster preparedness/response activities.
- Advocate for the needs of children to be identified and addressed in disasters. Introduce key concepts for children's preparedness into exercises as well as state disaster planning and response efforts.
- Monitor AAP information and progress and report back to AAP Chapter leaders and members.
- For more information about how AAP Chapters can get involved in disaster preparedness efforts, visit the Resources for Chapters Web page.
Initiatives for Chapter Contacts for Disaster Preparedness
The following ideas are designed to help chapter contacts for disaster preparedness begin to promote preparedness at the local, state, and national level.
- Work with a local community emergency response team to conduct training or provide information on relevant courses to AAP chapter members.
- Determine who oversees the state plans for public health emergency preparedness and pandemic influenza. Review these plans for inclusion of children's issues.
- Plan to do "just one thing" in September, which is National Preparedness Month.
- Check the AAP Chapter or state department of health web site to ensure children's preparedness issues are addressed. Ask that a link be added from these sites to the AAP Children & Disasters Web site home page.
- Get involved and help implement a state pediatric preparedness action plan. See state plans.
- Donate to the AAP Friends of Children Fund and identify your donation for "Disaster Relief".
- Promote preparedness and continuity of operations planning for pediatric practices.
- Use existing preparedness infrastructure (federal, state, regional, local) to advocate for and educate about pediatric needs during a disaster. Leverage findings of the National Commission on Children and Disasters to create urgency regarding this issue.
- Work with hospital regional groups, as well as state department of health, emergency care, and children's hospital leadership to be able to assess ED, clinic, and hospital clinical overload and key supply shortages in disasters.
- Review AAP disaster preparedness resources and customize a handout or publication for all physicians, families, or other key audiences. See the AAP Children & Disasters Web site or review the EMSC Innovation & Improvement Center.
- Contact the local Red Cross chapter to learn about volunteering at the local level or to discuss whether there is an opportunity to provide training on child health topics to disaster relief workers.
- Check to see if you receive relevant messages from the AAP headquarters office. Do you receive and read e-mails directed to the DisasterReady@listserv.aap.org (clinicians interested in AAP disaster preparedness and response activities) and DPCC@listserv.aap.org (Disaster Preparedness Chapter Contacts) electronic mailing lists?
- Identify leaders in your state who might wish to receive AAP e-mails and newsletters.
- Review the AAP strategic plan, AAP Children and Disasters Web site, and newsletters and develop one to two articles for your Chapter newsletter on resources or topics of interest.
The information on this page was adapted from a section of the Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit.
If you are interested in becoming a chapter contact for disaster preparedness, please e-mail DisasterReady@aap.org.