The CDP has been helping improve the nation’s disaster medical response capability by hosting several training courses this summer for members of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

The NDMS is a federally-coordinated healthcare system designed to supplement health and medical systems following disasters and a partnership of the United States departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), Defense (DOD), and Veterans Affairs (VA). 

NDMS has several capabilities, but its core function is the training and deployment of Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) which can augment area health systems during a crisis in a variety of ways. DMAT team members include advanced clinicians (nurse practitioners/physician assistants), medical officers, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, information technologists, and safety, logistics, communication and administrative specialists.

More than 5,000 NDMS volunteers are on call to support state, local, tribal and territorial authorities following disasters and emergencies, and NDMS teams did exactly that following recent disasters. NDMS teams also deployed to Haiti in 2010 following an earthquake there.

NDMS professionals also serve behind the scenes at many large-scale national events, like the Presidential Inauguration and Republican and Democratic National Conventions, where there is the potential need for a cadre of trained medical professionals to provide help when seconds count.