November 29, 2010 — Top disaster response officials will gather at the University of Virginia on Dec. 7 – Pearl Harbor Day – for a panel discussion exploring community response and resiliency following a critical incident in a major metropolitan area.
The U.Va.-based Critical Incident Analysis Group is hosting the panel, "Community Response to Terrorist Attacks." Housed within the School of Medicine, the group is made up of an international, interdisciplinary and inter-professional group of scholars and practitioners who work to understand the impact of critical incidents on people, communities and social structures.
Dr. Gregory Saathoff, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences and executive director of the CIAG, said the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, which brought the U.S. into World War II, stands as a testament to people's resiliency in the face of horrific challenges. "For the second year, this is why we chose this particular date for our event," he said. "We are commemorating the resilience of communities, as was the case after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and we are honoring military personnel and their families."
The panel discussion, which is open to the public, will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Minor Hall Auditorium. The panel will examine national preparedness from the standpoint of medical and social disaster response and resilience required to mitigate the full force of a catastrophic event.
Participants will include Dr. S. Ward "Trip" Casscells, who recently served as assistant secretary for health affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense; Brad Kieserman, chief counsel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; Gerald DeFrancisco, president of humanitarian services for the American Red Cross; and a senior representative of FEMA's Office of National Capital Region Coordination
Kieserman will facilitate the panel, which will include an interactive discussion with audience members. Eric Stern, an expert on crisis analysis and leadership who is on sabbatical with the CIAG from the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm, will provide background remarks.
"The focus is national," Saathoff said. "We are fortunate to have an interdisciplinary group of leaders committed to response, recovery and mitigation across the country.”
For information on the Critical Incident Analysis Group, visit its website.