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CHHS Building Bridges Across Borders

Speaking as an expert on emergency management halfway around the world, Eric Oddo, senior policy analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), joined policymakers and practitioners in August for a three-day "Best International Practices in Building Resilient Cities" workshop in Bangalore, India.

The opportunity for CHHS to collaborate with both Indian and international experts to share insights, real-time experience, tools and methodologies came, however, from another part of the globe -- Israel.

In late April 2013, CHHS Founder and Director Michael Greenberger, JD, professor at the UM Francis King Carey School of Law, traveled to Israel with University of Maryland, Baltimore President Jay A. Perman, MD. The trip, coordinated by the Maryland/Israel Development Center, was a business and research development mission for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. Greenberger took the opportunity to meet face to face with Aaron Richman, co-director of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) -- a security-focused think tank and consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem.

Greenberger immediately saw possibilities for collaboration between the Center and the Institute. He brought Richman to campus following the Israel trip to learn more about CHHS experience and expertise, and jumped on the chance to kick-start a partnership when Richman asked if any staff was available to fill a presentation gap at the Resilient Cities workshop.

The workshop was organized by the government of Karnataka in partnership with the Synergia Foundation, a strategic group that works with the public and private sector in the domains of geopolitics, geo-economics, and geo-security. Bringing together participants for a deeper exchange of current practices and to identify possible gaps in order to build resilient operating procedures in India, the workshop sought to sensitize key stakeholders including bureaucracy, the media, and civil society about the need to have a proactive approach to mass casualty event planning.

Oddo, shown in the photo above, presented on Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP), as well as the use of the Incident Command System and Community Emergency Response Teams. These are areas that CHHS routinely studies, evaluates, and develops policies/procedures around for clients.

"For most in attendance, the proactive COOP approach to planning for the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, as well as the use of the structured Incident Command System to identify roles during an emergency, were new," said Oddo. "All were receptive to the ideas, and expressed their interest in using the concepts in conjunction with other best practices learned at the workshop."

Participants discussed how they would activate their emergency response plans in response to a hypothetical event at the end of the workshop through a comprehensive tabletop exercise. The scenario featured an Iiprovised explosive device being detonated in the parking garage of a hospital.

Developing new partnerships, opportunities for academic excellence, and avenues for business growth in Maryland were all goals of both the University and Governor O'Malley through the Israeli trade mission. O'Malley is a UMB alum who graduated from the School of Law in 1988.

Greenberger and CHHS continue to work with many connections made during the trip to meet those goals, while expanding the center's expertise worldwide.

Posting Date: 08/16/2013
Contact Name: Danielle Lueking
Contact Phone: 410-706-3985
Contact Email: dlueking@law.umaryland.edu