Marge Sidebottom, Health System Preparedness Official, to Become First Director of University-Wide Efforts

Aug. 6, 2007-- Leonard W. Sandridge, University of Virginia Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, today announced that Marjorie L. Sidebottom has been named to the new post of director of emergency preparedness for the University, effective Sept. 1.

Sidebottom has been director of emergency preparedness for the U.Va. Health System since 1993. In her new position, she will be responsible for developing and communicating the University’s key emergency policies, strategies and methods as well as designing, implementing and assessing emergency response plans. She will conduct annual assessments of the University’s preparedness for natural, epidemic and terrorist emergencies. Planning for the new office began last fall.

“Marge Sidebottom has long been an important member of the U.Va. team that works with representatives from Charlottesville, Albemarle County and other local agencies on emergency planning. Her vast experience in the field of emergency preparedness and her
calm, rational temperament under stressful and demanding conditions make her exactly the right person to lead our emergency planning efforts at a time when safety and security on Grounds is so critical,” Sandridge said.

“Nothing is more important to the University than the safety and security of our students, our employees, and visitors, and I am delighted that Marge has agreed to provide the essential leadership and coordination in this area of our operations.”

Sidebottom, who will report directly to Sandridge, is well known regionally and statewide in the emergency management field. She represents the University in local, regional and state planning and response efforts. As the northwest regional hospital coordinator for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, she is responsible for the region’s emergency planning for an 8,525-square-mile area that includes 26 localities, four health districts, 11 acute care hospitals, one psychiatric facility, one rehabilitation hospital and an estimated population of 744,800.

In her new role, Sidebottom said, she will work to continue the University’s strong collaborative relationships. “Every emergency is a local emergency, and we need to be aware of the resources of all agencies that might respond,” she said. “It will also be important to collaborate within the University to ensure that all the schools and the Medical Center are working together to prepare for any hazards.”

She also stressed the need for education and personal responsibility. “We need to make sure our faculty and students understand how to react in an emergency.”

Sidebottom’s tenure with the U.Va. Health System began in 1986 in Ambulatory Care Services, where she directed the Children’s Healthcare Museum and managed special projects. In 1989 Sidebottom helped plan and implement the move into the current University Hospital. She was administrator of emergency services, which include the emergency room, Pegasus flight program and the Blue Ridge Poison Center, from March 1989 to July 1996.

She is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia.