National Academy of Medicine

President’s Letter

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Building Preparedness & Resilience Amid Natural Disasters

Within just a few weeks, our nation has experienced three of the most devastating hurricanes on record, and more may be on the way. At the National Academy of Medicine and the Health & Medicine Division of the National Academies, we — like all of you — are eager to do what we can to help. We are in productive conversation with Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, as well as other federal officials and health leaders, about strategies for responding to Harvey, Irma, and Maria and building resilience for the future. With three major hurricanes affecting three separate regions, there is a need for national coordination, evaluation, learning, and planning. The details of our collaboration are now being worked out.

We are well positioned to help as we have extensive existing resources on disaster response and recovery, including the consensus reports Crisis Standards of Care and Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters; as well as a past workshop on Enabling Rapid and Sustainable Public Health Research During Disasters and an ongoing Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies. The National Academies also has a significant body of work on science and solutions to climate change, including the recently-launched Climate Communications Initiative.

Stay tuned — there is more to come from the National Academies on this issue. Until then, my very best wishes for your health and safety as our nation responds to these unprecedented challenges.

Warm regards,
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Victor J. Dzau, M.D.
President, National Academy of Medicine