Author Archives: Roberta Lavin

Now is the Time, Personal Preparedness Can’t Wait!

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas leading to catastrophic flooding in Houston and surrounding areas.  Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Irma slammed into the Caribbean and Florida, causing flooding, damage, and widespread power outages.  Most hospitals in the impacted areas sheltered-in-place requiring nurses and other critical staff to stay at the facilities for extended periods.

While these disasters had some advance warning, many aspects of the disaster were uncertain including the extent and location of flooding, power outages, etc. Other disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes, strike with little or no warning. Previous studies have found that lack of personal preparedness, concern/fear for family and pets, concern for the effect of the disaster on self and personal property, and transportation difficulties pose major barriers to disaster response. Although many agree that healthcare organizations should address the personal preparedness of their employees, little is known about the degree to which the U.S. nursing workforce is personally prepared to respond to disasters for extended periods of time.

The Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing believes personal preparedness of the nursing workforce is paramount. This week, SADN members will be hosting a presentation on personal preparedness at the Emergency Nurses 2017 Conference in St. Louis, MO (Details below).

Title: Now is the Time, Personal Preparedness Can’t Wait!
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Presentation time 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
Room: 267

We hope conference attendees will be able to join us for this session.

For nurses who are not attending this conference, we recommend you undertake the following steps to get prepared as soon as possible:

  1. Assemble disaster supplies kit for home, work, and car
  2. Create a family disaster plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area and have a plan in place that addresses how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Tailor this plan to any special needs your family has, including care of pets.
  3. Practice and update your plan regularly, just like a fire drill.
  4. Familiarize yourself with your organization’s emergency operations plan and know your role if a disaster strikes.

See for more information on becoming personally prepared.

Alicia Gable, MPH

Academic-Practice Partnerships Can Improve Preparedness

The United States needs a healthcare and public health workforce that possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond to any disaster or public health emergency in a timely and appropriate manner. The level of readiness and willingness to participate is critical to the success of any large-scale disaster response. The role of healthcare professionals across a broad range of specialties and during all phases of a disaster should be understood as disaster competence will be critical to population outcomes. The absence of a clearly articulated vision and framework for disaster education is not without consequences. An unprepared workforce has the potential to limit the effectiveness of local, state and federal response plans, limit organization surge capacity and to negatively impact health outcomes in populations impacted by disasters.

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis, Saint Louis University, and Johns Hopkins recently undertook a multi-pronged approached to identify essential educational needs and core competencies, as well as to assess the status of integration of state and local-level population focused training. Data were synthesized from in-depth discussions with key informants, review of relevant documents, guided discussions at key partner stakeholder meetings, review and abstraction from available core competencies and other government planning documents, the survey of medical, public health, and nursing programs and interviews with experts.

We developed a toolkit using a collaborative and partner-centered approach to disaster preparedness and response which is designed for interdisciplinary workforce development. We are posting all of the toolkits on and are dedicated to making them all available in the Creative Commons. The modules, curriculum, and workshop all reflect collaboration between public health and primary care. The flexible guidance will help primary care providers to apply theoretical principals during disaster response and preparedness activities with a population focus. A workforce that is continually learning and collaborative is essential to prepared communities. All are welcome to attend the workshop that is scheduled for July 27, 2017. You can register at . The event is free, but registration is required.



Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN) Leadership Conference


DAY 1 Wednesday December 14th 2016

6:00-8:30pm Panel discussion on the CTA Project

Carpenter Room 6-9pm, Reception, JHSON Alumni Development Office.

DAY 2 Thursday December 15th 2016 

Morning Closed Session, By Invitation only

8:00-8:30am Continental Breakfast at JHSON

8:30-10:15am Society for the Advancement of Disaster Nursing (SADN) Leadership Working Meeting

  • Welcome and Meeting Overview
  • Acknowledgement of VEMEC
  • Introductions
  • Business Meeting Call to Order
  • Respond to Draft Strategic Plan
  • Brief
    presentations from national subcommittees
  • Discussion: Conduct the preliminary business of launching the new organization

10:15-10:30am Break

10:30-10:45am Welcome Remarks, Dean and Professor Patricia Davidson

10:45-12:00pm Small workgroups

12:00-1:00pm Conference Keynote Presentation

Sally Phillips, R.N, PhDMain Content

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Afternoon Closed Session, By Invitation only

1:15 Boxed lunches served -Carpenter Room

1:30-2:00pm Future Directions, Presentation, Closing Remarks

  • Disaster Nursing and Humanitarian Health, Paul Spiegel

2:00-2:45pm Present strategic plan; get feedback from attendees

  • Discuss regarding optimizing partnerships

2:45-3:00pm Closing remarks



Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response: A Call to Action

Nursing Call to Action-Lavin 07-2016

ABSTRACT Submitted to the Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health 2016 Meeting

 Title of Poster: Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response: A Call to Action

Authors: Roberta Lavin, PhD, FNP-BC, University of Missouri-St. Louis (Presenter); Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, FAAN (Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Mary Pat Couig, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Alicia R. Gable, Mph Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center; Anne Griffin, BSN, MPH Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center

Funding:  The workgroup that produced this work was partially funded by the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center.

Conflict of Interest:  The authors have no known conflict of interest.

Healthcare’s response to a public health emergency is largely dependent on surge capacity of the nurse workforce. Yet, prior efforts to prepare & mobilize nurses for disasters have been episodic & difficult to sustain. Current assessments of professional readiness indicate that nurses are inadequately prepared to respond to disasters.

In order to improve national preparedness and develop a vision for the future of disaster nursing, identify barriers and facilitators to achieving the vision, and develop recommendations for nursing practice, education, policy and research, a series of conference calls were conducted with fourteen national subject matter experts to generate relevant concepts regarding national nursing workforce preparedness. A workshop was held to refine these concepts. Participants included Colleges and Universities, nursing organizations, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Public Health Services and Military, and healthcare organizations. Our panel explored strategies and proposed recommendations to achieve a vision “To create a national nursing workforce with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond to disasters and public health emergencies in a timely and effective manner.”

We seek to ensure that all nurses:

  • Possess a minimum knowledge base, skills and abilities regarding disaster response and public health emergency preparedness;
  • respond directly or provide indirect support during a disaster event or public health emergency;
  • promote preparedness amongst individuals in their care, families, communities and within the organizations they represent; and

A set of strategies and education will be presented from each of the four workgroups:

  • Research – Establish a research agenda based on documented gaps in literature, nursing knowledge, skills, and resources
  • Policy – Facilitate deployment of nurses and other health care workers to disaster areas.
  • Practice – support clinical nursing practice during disaster and meet crisis standards of care
  • Education – establish a national set of disaster nursing competencies and evidence based content for academic and lifelong learning opportunities

Nurses as Leaders in Disaster Preparedness and Response—A Call to Action

Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, FAAN1, Anne Griffin, MPH, BSN, RN, CNOR2, Alicia R. Gable, MPH3, Linda MacIntyre, PhD, RN4, RADM Nadine Simons, MS, RN5, Mary Pat Couig, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN6, John J. Walsh Jr., MS7, Roberta Proffitt Lavin, PhD, APRN-BC8, Aram Dobalian, PhD, JD9, & Elaine Larson, PhD, RN, FAAN, CIC10



Purpose: To develop a vision for the future of disaster nursing, identify barri- ers and facilitators to achieving the vision, and develop recommendations for nursing practice, education, policy, and research.

Findings: The group developed a vision for the future of disaster nursing, and identified current barriers and opportunities to advance professional disaster nursing. A broad array of recommendations for nursing practice, education, policy, and research, as well as implementation challenges, are summarized in this article.

Conclusions: This project represents an important step toward enhancing nurses’ roles as leaders, educators, responders, policymakers, and researchers in disaster preparedness and response. Nurses and the health and human service organizations that employ them are encouraged to engage in an expansive national dialogue regarding how to best incorporate the vision and recommendations into their individual lives and the organizations for which they work.

Clinical Relevance: Nurses comprise the largest healthcare workforce, and opportunities exist to strengthen disaster readiness, enhance national surge capacity, and build community resiliency to disasters.



Recent Entries »