Disaster Information Specialization Program:
- Patricia Bittner
- Diane Brown
- Robin Featherstone
- Barbara L. Folb
- Rebecca Hamilton
- Kimberly Loper
- Dr. Mary Moore
- Patti Reynolds
- John Scott
Coordinator for Disaster Risk Management
Center for Public Services Communications
Patricia Bittner is a professional disaster preparedness and risk reduction manager, with a particular focus on health. She joined the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Program of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), in 1985 and led a team responsible for developing and maximizing the impact of strategic partnerships, mobilizing resources and engaging in advocacy for disaster preparedness, risk reduction, and response in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this role, she coordinated and negotiated with organizations and agencies (bilateral and private sector) to ensure stable and consistent funding for all regional risk reduction and response initiatives. She also served as the executive editor of the newsletter Disasters: Preparedness and Mitigation in the Americas for twenty-two years, authored numerous articles and publications on all aspects of health and disasters, and spoke at global symposiums and forums.
In 2007/08, Bittner was seconded to UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction to develop an information package and audiovisual material to launch the World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters (2008/09). Subsequently, she worked with WHO headquarters in Geneva and its regional offices (New Delhi, India; Cairo, Egypt; Bangkok, Thailand) to adapt the material to their regions and develop an advocacy and communication strategy for safe hospitals.
Since leaving PAHO/WHO in late 2010, she has served as technical editor of publications on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Disaster Situations; Mainstreaming the Needs of the Elderly in Disaster Situations in the Caribbean; and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction's How to Make Cities More Resilient: A Handbook for Local Government Leaders, including the development of a web-based Toolkit on disaster risk reduction and sustainable development for partner cities in the global campaign "Making Cities Disaster Resilient."
Currently, through the Center for Public Service Communications, she is developing a Spanish-language web-based information portal on health and disasters, including risk reduction and humanitarian relief.
Deputy State Librarian
State Library of Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA
Diane Brown has been deputy state librarian at the State Library of Louisiana since 2004. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the state library, budget, statewide initiatives, and strategic planning. Prior to this position, she served for thirteen years in a variety of positions at the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET, now called LYRASIS), the last one as director of library programs. While at SOLINET, she was active in training, consulting, strategic planning, and working with OCLC products and services. From 1977-1991, she worked at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reference assistant, branch director, and then head of technical services.
She received her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Tennessee and her bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Alberta Research Center for Health Evidence
Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Robin Featherstone is an embedded research librarian for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Robin was a liaison librarian to medical schools at McGill University and the University of Western Ontario, and a hospital librarian at Montreal General Hospital (McGill University Health Centre). Robin was also a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, and completed her second year of the fellowship program at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University.
Robin began investigating libraries and disasters as an associate fellow at the National Library of Medicine, where she conducted an oral history project on library roles in disaster response. With a desire to further understand disaster information needs, she conducted a qualitative case series in 2009 of disaster information provision to health care providers during the H1N1 pandemic. Robin has also published on the emerging role of the disaster information specialist.
As an instructional librarian Robin has taught more than eighty workshops on finding and evaluating evidence to support professional practice. Visit Robin's SlideShare page to view some of her workshop slides.
Public Health Informationist
Health Sciences Library System
University of Pittsburgh
Barbara Folb is the public health informationist at the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. She has worked there since 1999, serving as outreach librarian from 1999 to 2003, public health librarian from 2003 to 2009, and public health informationist from 2010 to the present. During 2008 and 2009, she was a National Library of Medicine Informationist Fellow. As part of the fellowship she earned her master's in public health in behavioral and community health sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and completed a research study on the information needs and practices of disaster first responders. Folb has enjoyed the opportunity to implement the informationist model of service, maintaining offices in the library and at the Graduate School of Public Health. She works closely with the school's Health Resources and Services Administration funded Pennsylvania Public Health Training Center (PAPHTC), providing training on information seeking and management topics for public health practitioners in Pennsylvania.
Prior to switching careers to librarianship, Folb earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in music, and a master's in music performance from Youngstown State University. She taught French horn at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and worked as a freelance musician. She earned her master's in library science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994. Before joining HSLS, she worked at Carnegie Mellon University at the Hunt Library and at the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Corporate Library.
State Library of Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in library and information science from Louisiana State University. Hamilton began her career in 1989 as a library associate at the West Baton Rouge Parish Library. In 1996, she became assistant director of the St. Mary Parish Library System and later assistant director for the Audubon Regional Library System, the states only tri-parish library system. In 2001, she accepted the position of executive director of the St. Mary Parish Library system, and in 2003, Hamilton became associate state librarian at the State Library of Louisiana (LSU).
In July of 2005, Hamilton was appointed state librarian by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. This appointment made her Louisiana's only fourth state librarian in the agency's eighty-two year history and the youngest state librarian in the nation. She was reappointed by Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne in 2010. She works with agencies and individuals at all levels of government to improve library services statewide to the people of Louisiana.
Under her direction, the State Library of Louisiana underwent a total reorganization to streamline operations and to identify efficiencies. This was done by overseeing a work study of each department, by reviewing all internal processes and procedures, by updating all job descriptions to make them modern and relevant, and by increasing productivity and overall standards of service by the state library. In her first year in office, Hamilton doubled the amount of state aid to public libraries, the largest increase in the history of the program and the first increase in 20 years. She also oversaw the rebuilding of the state library's internal network and backup systems, with virtually no additional resources, a 3-year project, and as a result, during the storms of 2008, the state library never lost Internet connectivity when all other offices in state government, including the state library's parent Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, were without Internet. She worked closely with SOLINET (now Lyrasis) to obtain a $12 million grant to provide temporary library facilities after the storms in both Louisiana and Mississippi. Since the beginning of her administration, the state library has implemented a new interlibrary loan system for public libraries, added content to the statewide databases, secured a line item in the annual budget for public library training, and grown the annual Louisiana Book Festival to an attendance of 26,000. This was done through 4 hurricanes, severe budget cuts, the recession, staff retirements, and most recently the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but now the state library is an efficient, high-performing, customer-driven agency.
In recent years, Hamilton has been appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Folklife Commission, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and the Louisiana State Reading Leadership Team. She has also served on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region Public Library Advisory Committee and on the SOLINET Board of Directors. She has served as a member and secretary of the State Board of Library Examiners, the body that certifies Louisiana public library directors. Most recently, she was named one of the most outstanding graduates of the LSU School of Library and Information Science and, this year, received the Anthony Benoit Award for Outstanding Contributions in Librarianship from the Louisiana Library Association. In November 2007, she was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Baton Rouge by the Baton Rouge Business Report.
Vice Chair, Administration and Special Projects
Digital Initiatives Librarian
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Kimberly Loper is vice chair for administration and special projects and digital initiatives librarian at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's (UMMSM's) Department of Health Informatics and the Louis Calder Memorial Library. She is a member of the UMMSM Response Team-Medical Reserve Corps and has completed five Medical Reserve Corps and Federal Emergency Management Agency classes. Her experiences in the US Army, serving in the Gulf War, prepared her for emergency response and logistics management.
Chair, Department of Health Informatics
Executive Director, Medical Libraries and Biomedical Communications
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Mary Moore is the chair, Department of Health Informatics, and executive director, Medical Libraries and Biomedical Communications, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL. Dr. Moore is a member of the university's Disaster Interest Group and of the Miami-Dade County Department of Health Medical Reserve Corps. She and her libraries' staff have been involved in responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Haiti earthquake. She has taught health informatics, medical decision support, management information systems, information technology project management, and other topics at the University of Miami, University of Texas-Austin, Texas Tech University, Arkansas State University, and Helsinki School of Economics. Moore received the MLA Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Institute for Scientific Information, the MLA Rittenhouse Award, and the MLA Donald A.B. Lindberg Research Fellowship.
Bishopric Medical Library
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Patricia Reynolds has been the director of the Bishopric Medical Library, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), Sarasota, FL, since 2000. Reynolds received her master's of library science from Rutgers University in 1980. With experience in the educational services section of New York University Medical Center Library and a strong passion for computerized information dissemination, she moved to the west coast of Florida in 1995 and established the Ronald Hanson Medical Library and Community Health Information Center at Venice Hospital, Venice, FL. This was followed by a move to Tampa and the American College of Physician Executives, again working with online resources and physicians.
A request from the president of SMH brought her home. SMH is a leader in online computer technology, and a virtual library was the next project to develop. Reynolds has served on the Library Advisory Board of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Reynolds has participated in the National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Specialist Pilot Project Partners, 2008-2010. During this period, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Emergency Preparedness Committee grew to include physicians and nurses, establish a direct report to the administration, and set long-term and short-term goals, to name a few successes. The development of a Sarasota County Coalition of hospitals has begun as well as a coalition of West Coast Medical Libraries. The development of www.suncoastepic.com is the ongoing project of the library group. Reynolds's publication of "Disaster Information Specialist Pilot Project:NLM/DIMRC" in Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 2010 Oct;29(4):394-404, details the activities that took place during this pilot project.
Center for Public Service Communications
John Scott founded and directs the Center for Public Service Communications whose mission is to provide guidance and expertise to individuals, communities, and public sector organizations in the specialized field of applying telecommunications and information technologies to reduce health disparities, to improve health services to underserved and disenfranchised individuals and communities, and to improve the collection and sharing of scientific, technical, and community knowledge to reduce human vulnerability to natural hazards. Scott's international work experience includes the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, China, Western Europe, the Pacific, and the former Soviet Union.
Currently, Scott is writing a disaster risk reduction handbook for mayors on behalf of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and its "Making Cities Resilient" campaign. He is executive director of the Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) and is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Cultural Competency for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response (of the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health). He has been a senior advisor on early warning and disaster health information to institutions including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). From 2001-2005, Scott was executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President's Task Force on Health Information and Technology. He was also founder, in 1993, of the US Congressional Steering Committee on Telehealth and Health Information Technology and coordinated that group for ten years.
Scott has worked for many years on disaster risk reduction programs internationally, with the UN, and the United States. On behalf of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, he wrote the concept paper and was first project manager for ReliefWeb, which has become a principal site for sharing of disaster-related information. He was principal investigator of the needs assessment for a South-East Asia Disaster Health Information Network after the 2004 tsunami, on behalf of the WHO South East Asia Regional Office and was one of the principal developers of the Central American Network for Disaster Health Information (CANDHI). He organized and chaired the First International Conference on Disaster Communications, in 1989, on behalf of the UN Disaster Relief Organization and was a founding member of the UN's Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications. He coordinated development efforts for an initiative to provide health information and knowledge management support to the government of Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake, on behalf of the collaborative effort of the PAHO and NLM. Scott is currently working to establish an Indigenous Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction with support from the PAHO, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Scott is an enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.