Reflections on the Initial Multinational Response to the Earthquake in Haiti

Published in: Population Health Management, v. 13, no. 3, June 2010, p. 105-113

Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2010

by Michael J. Hopmeier, Jean William Pape, David Paulison, Richard Carmona, Tim Davis, Kobi Peleg, Gili Shenhar, Colleen Conway-Welch, Sten H. Vermund, Janet Nicotera, et al.

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One of the early problems inherent in assessing the effectiveness of and opportunities for improvement in the response to the Haiti earthquake was distinguishing real experience and knowledge from vicarious observations. To address this, the RAND Corporation and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and Vanderbilt School of Nursing- National Center for Emergency Preparedness convened a panel on March 10, 2010 via phonecon, consisting of a select group of people who had real and extensive on-the-ground experience in Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The summary that follows details their observations and responses to questions from subject-matter experts. This is an edited version of a 2-hour conversation covering a wide array of topics. It is intended to identify key issues worthy of thoughtful consideration and further research to improve future responses to large-scale natural and man-made disasters. Objective and rigorous after-action reports are needed, both to improve ongoing operations in Haiti and to provide guidance to enhance future responses to large-scale population emergencies.

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