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Disaster Preparedness and Response Caucus

Since the formation of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Caucus (DPRC) in 2011, the “humanitarian space” (as it is called) has undergone numerous changes to improve professionalism, coordination, and accountability. ACNM does not deploy midwives to the field, but wants to support you in your desire to participate in these very important professional activities.

Midwives who are interested in participating in preparedness activities and disaster response locally, nationally, or internationally are encouraged to seek opportunities to join a recognized agency or organization well in advance of the next “big one”. This provides you with opportunities to:

·         Receive disaster training (usually at no cost to you),

·         Have your credentials verified - which protects you and speeds your ability to deploy, and

·         Influence the programming and services organizations provide regarding the health care of women, infants, and young families during times of crisis.

Karen Hays, CNM & Robbie Prepas, CNM are the Co-Chairs of the DPRC caucus. For more information, please contact Karen E. Hays ([email protected]), Robbie Prepas ([email protected]), or the Program Coordinator for ACNM Department of Global Outreach ([email protected]).

Domestic Disasters and Emergencies

Midwives are strongly encouraged, and in some states may be required, to register with a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) by clicking here, and/or with their local (state or county-level) Medical Reserve Core (MRC) by clicking here. You'll receive specialized training in the Incident Command System used for disaster response organization and accountability in the U.S., and you'll be covered for liability when deployed on missions. The Red Cross also welcomes volunteers.

International Disasters and Complex Emergencies

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) are the key leaders during crises that require an international response. They ensure that the Cluster Coordination System is properly implemented. Click on the following links for detailed information regarding standards and best practices for foreign medical teams in acute disaster situations:

- Effective Aid by Michael Vanrooyen (2013)
- Foreign Medical Teams Working Group
- Classification and Minimum Standards for Foreign Medical Teams in Sudden Onset Disasters

Click here to see the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, July-August 2015, Volume 60, article about CNMs and CMs volunteering during international humanitarian relief efforts. For the most current information, an internet search using the key words "medical" plus "humanitarian," "disaster," or "emergencies" and "response," "relief," "volunteering" or "aid" should yield a variety of lists to assist you in discovering resources that interest you.

ACNM Resources

Hays, K., & Prepas, R. (2015). The Professionalization of International Disaster Response: It Is Time for Midwives to Get Ready. (Requires member login) Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 60(4), doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12339.

Share With Women. (2011). Emergency Preparedness for Childbirth. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 56(2), doi: 10.1111/j.1542-2011.2010.00020.x 

Williams, D. (2004). Giving Birth “In Place”: A Guide to Emergency Preparedness for Childbirth. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, 49(4, Suppl. 1), doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2004.04.030 

 

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