The Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit has been selected to become part of a pilot project to improve disaster response capabilities at hospitals in the U.S. It and five other hospitals in the Midwest will become part of the Eastern Great Lakes Pediatric Consortium for Disaster Response as a center of excellence.
The consortium will be funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response.
“At Children’s Hospital of Michigan, we specialize in children and, in the event of a disaster, it’s our job to ensure the most vulnerable among us are cared for appropriately,” says Luanne Thomas Ewald, CEO of the hospital. “This grant will allow us to share our pediatric expertise with our community by developing best practices for a coordinated emergency response model. We are proud to be leading one of the only pediatric disaster care centers of excellence in the country, and I commend all of the hospitals that are participating in this research for their critical commitment to children.”
The consortium is designed to address the needs of pediatric patients in public health emergencies and disasters. The participating hospitals will develop coordinated pediatric disaster care capability, strengthen pediatric disaster preparedness plans and health care system coordination related to medical surges from disasters, enhance statewide and regional medical surge capacity for pediatric patients, develop and deliver a standardized training program to increase health care professional competency, and enhance situational awareness of pediatric disaster care capabilities and capacity and assess regional readiness.
According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response, children are 25 percent of the U.S. population and face specialized medical issues due to their developmental and physiological characteristics. Pediatric care capability is needed to manage children’s unique needs during disasters, especially for hospitals that do not specialize in pediatric care.
“Combining our resources in this collaborative effort allows us to identify best practices and bridge existing gaps in disaster care for children and families,” says Dr. Ronald Ruffing, chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “This opportunity brings together six outstanding children’s hospitals to lead the nation’s response in all aspects of caring for children during a disaster.”
Other hospitals include University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s in Cleveland, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, CS Mott Children’s Hospital Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital/Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Children’s Hospital of Michigan has served the area for more than 130 years and offers more than 40 pediatric medical and surgical specialty services. It is part of the Detroit Medical Center and sees more children than any hospital in the state.