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Homeland Security

Major Drill toTest Military, Federal and Civilian Regional Resources

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071017-11
Release Date: 10/17/2007 3:27:00 PM

From National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- The Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership will host its largest collaborative multi-agency medical exercise Oct. 18, at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC).

Leadership from the partnership facilities that include NNMC, the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Suburban Hospital said the goal of the drill is to test the regional disaster response program and strengthen relationships. They feel confident the partnership is prepared.

"Our nation continues to be susceptible to disasters, pandemics and acts of terrorism," National Naval Medical Center Commander Rear Adm. Richard Jeffries said. "The partnerships' Regional Disaster Response Model demonstrates that readiness is a foundation upon which will [and] can provide - and maintain - the highest quality of military-civilian emergency response and health care our communities have come to expect after Katrina. Now is the time for all our communities to implement strategies and enhance relationships for effective disaster response."

More than 5,000 people will take part in this year's drill, including participants from National Naval Medical Center; NIH Clinical Center; Suburban Hospital; Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capital Region; Air Force District of Washington; DC National Guard; Delaware Air National Guard; Walter Reed Army Medical Center; and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The partnership is also welcoming its newest member, the National Library of Medicine.

"The Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership stands ready to provide a rapid and sustained medical response to our community during a catastrophic event in the National Capital Region," said Brian Gragnolati, Suburban Hospital Health care system president and chief executive officer.

This partnership is a first-of-its-kind collaboration that links military, federal, local and private mass disaster medical response efforts within the national capital area. Started in 2004 and formalized in 2005, the partnership is now a model for other health care agencies throughout the country.

"The Bethesda Partnership has developed a transportable model for defining best practices in casualty care management through ongoing collaboration, integration, and training," said Dr. John Gallin, director of the NIH Clinical Center. "We encourage other health care organizations to partner with their neighbors. Forming these relationships helps grow community outreach and improve disaster preparedness."

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