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CDP training benefits Pennsylvania health system

The emergency preparedness coordinator for a nine-hospital health system in Pennsylvania credits the Center for Domestic Preparedness for successful responses by system employees to multiple mass casualty incidents over the past decade, including bus accidents and building fires, plus dealing with patients who presented at the facilities with monkeypox or after having been exposed to chemical contaminants.

John Harahus says the health system has sent more than 500 employees to the CDP since 2014, from executives, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and radiologists to respiratory therapists, infectious disease specialists and laboratory technicians. They took a variety of CDP courses, including the center’s popular Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents (HCL), Barrier Precautions and Controls for Highly Infectious Disease (HID), Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents, and Framework for Healthcare Emergency Management offerings.

“We conduct training and exercises within our facilities, but there is absolutely no way we can train and exercise to the scale provided by the CDP,” he explained.

Harahus, who instructs part-time at the CDP, noted the health system has even added CDP classes to the system’s physician residency and fellowship requirements.

“Our infectious disease fellows attend HID, our emergency department residents will be attending HCL in the near future and, starting in 2027, our preventative medicine residency will most likely send physicians to HCL and HID,” he said.

“My leadership and the entire emergency management team would like to express our sincerest thanks to the CDP,” he added. “This training helps us better care for our patients, staff, and visitors, particularly during the worst of times.”