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Medical College of Wisconsin and Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team Assist in Hurricane Sandy Response Efforts

Nov. 7, 2012

A contingent from the Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (WI-1 DMAT) is on the east coast assisting in relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. The Hurricane Sandy emergency strike team includes one doctor, two nurses and three paramedics from Wisconsin who are helping to staff a 250-bed, makeshift federal hospital station for patients and nursing home residents in Middlesex, New Jersey. The WI-1 DMAT is coordinated by Jason Liu, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of emergency medicine and associate EMS medical director at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).

This is the first mission of the WI-1 DMAT, which is part of a federally-coordinated system that provides medical capabilities in the event that a large-scale emergency overwhelms normal local and state medical resources. A DMAT consists of medical, logistical, and administrative personnel, as well as all of the equipment required to deliver medical care in an austere environment.

The doctor, nurses and paramedics from Wisconsin will remain in New Jersey for as long as two weeks before returning home. They could be replaced by other WI-1 DMAT personnel if needed, including members of MCW faculty and staff who are on call along with more than 70 other Wisconsin medical volunteers.

Dr. Liu, acting commander of the Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, is responsible for the overall operations of the team. He and other MCW staff are currently on campus preparing additional personnel and coordinating the field operations of the contingent in New Jersey. Dr. Liu says the Medical College played a key role in the development of the W-1 DMAT, which has been years in the making.

“MCW was instrumental in convincing the state and federal governments that an emergency response team could be formed in Wisconsin, and this first mission is another historic milestone,” Dr. Liu said. “This type of response is what WI-1 DMAT was built and trained for, and we can be proud of our state’s contribution to the relief efforts.”

MCW, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are academic partners of the WI-1 DMAT. The team is part of the National Disaster Medical System of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MCW joined with the state’s academic medical institutions, the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs to endorse the formation of a DMAT in Wisconsin. For more information, visit the team website at www.wi1dmat.org.

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