SIS Home > DIMRC Home > NIH Disaster Research Response Project
  • Bookmark and Share

NIH Disaster Research Response Project (DR2)

**This page is no longer being updated.**
Please see the new Web site, NIH Disaster Research Response (DR2).

Upcoming Events
Past Events
About the Project
Project Goals
Project Components including Disaster Research Data Collection Tools
NIH Coordination and Collaboration
Stakeholder Opportunities
Sustainment of Project
Previous NIH Disaster Experience
Contact Us

Upcoming Events
  • Houston Disaster Research Response Tabletop Exercise: February 16, 2015, Houston, TX
Past Events
  • Federal Partner Briefing: January 10, 2014, NIH
About the Project

"The knowledge that is generated through well‐designed, effectively executed research in anticipation of, in the midst of, and after an emergency is critical to our future capacity to better achieve the overarching goals of preparedness and response: preventing injury, illness, disability, and death and supporting recovery."
Lurie N, Manolio T, Patterson AP, Collins F, Frieden T. Research as a Part of Public Health Emergency Response. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013 Mar 28;368:1251-1255. Available from:

The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) commitment to disaster resilience has been the foundation for more than three decades of research. Multiple NIH Institutes, Centers and grantees conduct research focusing on disaster preparedness, response and recovery issues. These efforts have contributed to a deeper understanding of disaster risks and recovery and act to provide critical information when disasters strike.

In response to recent disasters and the research conducted in their wake, NIH has committed to fund the NIH Disaster Research Response Project. This pilot project, developed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), aims to create a disaster research system consisting of coordinated environmental health disaster research data collection tools and a network of trained research responders. Elements of the system include epidemiologic questionnaires and clinical protocols, specially trained disaster researchers, environmental health disaster research networks, a reach‐back roster of subject matter experts, and a support infrastructure that can be activated and deployed during public health emergencies and declared disasters. NIEHS will build on its extensive program capabilities, research networks, and field experience in leading this pilot.

View the factsheet about the project.
NIEHS Disaster Research Response Efforts

Project Goals
  • Readily Available Data Collection Tools and Research Protocols
    • Rapid response clinical and epidemiologic research for disasters
    • Field tested, IRB and OMB approved tools and protocols
    • Implementation guidance, forms, and participant tracking information
    • Hosted on publicly accessible NLM website. Records describing data collection tools are now available. Click Disaster Research Data Collection Tools on the Disaster Lit website.
  • Environmental Health Research Response Network
    • NIEHS intramural/extramural researchers, Centers, grantees, and academic partners
    • Engaged in the development and prioritization of the system and tools
    • Trained 'research responders' who are familiar with data collection tools, protocols, and can deploy in a disaster
    • Listing of subject matter and information experts that can be called upon for assistance
  • Coordination and Integration with Disaster Response and Recovery Infrastructure
    • Multi‐stakeholder engagement and information sharing
    • Training exercises for research responders and partners
    • Disaster Research Response Workshop
    • Facilitate state and local environmental health research response capabilities regardless of federal disaster declarations or efforts
Project Components
  • Portfolio analysis of NIH disaster research activities and subject matter experts
  • Collection of implementation guidance, forms, data collection and participant tracking tools
  • Development of research protocols and data collection tools. Records describing data collection tools are now available. Click Disaster Research Data Collection Tools on the Disaster Lit website.
  • Coordination and program support
  • Development of research responder concept of operations
  • Research responder training
  • Research responder website
  • Research question development/prioritization. In response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Institute of Medicine convened a workshop to develop and prioritize research questions about Ebola. The workshop was held, in part, as an experiment in convening experts and developing research questions during an ongoing public health emergency. The workshop summary, released less than two weeks after the workshop, identifies research priorities to guide agencies in their decisions on projects and funding.
NIH Coordination and Collaboration

Intra‐NIH Disaster Interest Group (I‐DIG)
Partnership between 13 NIH Institutes and Centers that aims to share timely information, enhance relationships and processes, improve opportunities for collaborations and serve as a discussion platform for actions. I-DIG's goals include:

  • Share timely information
  • Build relationships and processes
  • Improve opportunities for collaborations
  • Serve as a discussion platform for actions
  • Informal coordination of activities

Federal Interagency Coordination
NIH is among the numerous federal agencies that participate in research following disasters. Additional coordination between the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies, will be guided by NIEHS and project coordinators.

Environmental Health Science (EHS) Disaster Research Network
The EHS Disaster Research Network is a new coordinated group consisting of NIEHS‐sponsored research centers, grantees, and academic partners interested in facilitating improved national research response capabilities and responding to environmental emergencies and disasters.

  1. Input and Assessment of research questions, priorities and products
  2. Partners and Researchers
  3. Next Steps: Member recruitment
NIEHS Emerging Threats Strategic Working Group
  • New trans-NIEHS Strategic Workgroup
  • Focus on coordinated response to emerging threats
  • Integration, support, and planning for future events
  • Expand Institute capacity and processes, organizational infrastructure, and response capabilities
  • Focus on new and emerging threats, time-critical disaster situations and quickly evolving environmental issues
Stakeholder Opportunities
Stakeholders will have an opportunity to be involved in multiple aspects of the project. Stakeholder contributions to the development of deliverables are critical to creating user friendly tools. Those interested may support the project by:
  • Providing scientific input, user feedback, and advice to ongoing efforts to create publicly accessible website pages and content
  • Participating in the EHS Disaster Research Network and identifying others
  • Participating as a subject matter expert for important environmental health disaster research areas including toxic exposures, health impacts, and community resiliency
  • Sharing research and lessons learned in past disasters
  • Participating in training and pursuing opportunities for field research during environmental emergencies
  • Sharing existing protocols and tools for disasters
Sustainment of Project
  • Expansion of Portfolio Analysis to all of HHS
  • Continued funding for project
  • Expansion of website and databases
Previous NIH Disaster Experience
NIEHS has supported the response to many recent disasters including: NLM's Disaster Information Management Research Center includes:
Contact Us
Please send any comments or inquries to