UH Med Now
JABSOM to House HI-EMA Emergency Operations Center for COVID-19 Pandemic
Date: April 8th, 2020 in JABSOM News
A message from Dean Jerris R. Hedges, MD, MS, MMM to the JABSOM Community:
We are greatly appreciative of your flexibility and your introduction of innovative approaches to delivering education, research, policy and clinical services to the people of Hawaiʻi during these challenging times. Those of you serving on the programmatic side of the school are aware of the importance of our facilities to the support of health care in Hawaiʻi, research focused on combating illness and health service planning across the state and into the Pacific. For those working within the facilities (part-time or more), we all appreciate the continued emphasis on social distancing, hand washing, cleaning of heavily-used contact points and other measures to reduce the risk of acquiring COVID-19. For those working at home, we want to thank you for continuing to serve JABSOM’s overall missions from your home offices while promoting general social distancing in our community.
This note is to make you aware that Hawaiʻi’s Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) has asked JABSOM to allow use of space in our medical education building along with related facilities support to temporarily house the HI-EMA emergency operations center (EOC) for its Emergency Support Function #8 – i.e., for support of Public Health and Medical Services. Having this HI-EMA EOC for Public Health and Medical Services located within the Medical Education Building will help HI-EMA adhere to social distancing mandates not possible in the current facility within Diamond Head Crater. The HI-EMA EOC will provide a vital coordination role for health care providers within the health systems, community-based primary care clinics, the department of health, and a host of social services promoting health in HHawaiʻi during an anticipated COVID-19 surge in patient care needs. Please note that no patient care or COVID-19 testing will be done in the Medical Education Building.
During the presence of the HI-EMA EOC, we will continue to emphasize social distancing within the Medical Education Building. We will limit the number of individuals granted access to the facilities and restrict the space to which they will be assigned. At this time, the base of operation for the HI-EMA EOC will be in MEB 314 and some of the adjacent Problem Based Learning rooms. Essential educational and administrative activities will occur in other parts of the building.
JABSOM is an essential education, research, policy and service unit for Hawaiʻi that is dependent upon use of its Kakaʻako facilities. Sustaining operability allows JABSOM to support the needs of our State. This HI-EMA EOC’s co-location within the medical school also will provide HI-EMA personnel greater access to the expertise of JABSOM faculty and leadership. Directly participating in the State’s fight against the corona virus expands our students’ education as future healthcare leaders, allows our faculty researchers to serve the state more directly, and, if they elect, provides our staff a unique and vital opportunity to participate in the fight against this global COVID-19 pandemic.