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The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health Office of Global Disaster Response (GDR) held Missioncraft 2019: Disaster Response Leadership in Austere Environments workshop from April 24th through the 27th.

Office of Global Disaster Response Trains Future Humanitarian Responders at Missioncraft Workshop

The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health Office of Global Disaster Response (GDR) held Missioncraft 2019: Disaster Response Leadership in Austere Environments workshop from April 24th through the 27th. The annual humanitarian responder course was redesigned for 2019, adding an intensive field-based training simulation to provide hands on and practical applications of the critical  preparations for those health providers interested in a career in humanitarian response.

April 24-25 – Classroom Training – 125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA

The Missioncraft 2019 classroom sessions were taught by course director Hilarie Cranmer, MD, MPH, her GDR team and Emilie Calvello Hynes, MD, MPH from the University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine. More than 30 participants from academia, international governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in tabletop scenarios and discussions ranging from rapid epidemiological assessments, disaster project management to basic field safety and security considerations when running medical operations.

“It’s really important to understand the basic principles and do some interaction and discussion regarding some of the tool sets you will need in the field,” Dr. Cranmer said. “For example, you need to see what a rapid health assessment is supposed to be before you actually have to be in the back of a car filling one out at 11 o’clock at night.”

Missioncraft 2019 participants engage with disaster medicine expert and Missioncraft in Disaster Relief® founder David Bradt, MD, MPH, DTM&H, via video conference during a working lunch on Thursday, April 25 at 125 Nashua St.

Course Director Hilarie Cranmer, MD, MPH leads a communications discussion on field briefing and reporting.

AK Goodman, MD, MPH, an MGH surgeon-gynecologic oncologist and member of the Global Disaster Response faculty, gives a gender-based violence and vulnerable populations in disaster response presentation.

Partners HealthCare International Risk Manager Ryan Wildes, a member of the MGH GDR faculty, leads a workshop discussion on security in complex emergencies and global trends.

April 26-27 – Field Hospital Simulation – Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, MA

On Friday morning Missioncraft participants dressed for the elements and traveled 20 miles north to the Harold Parker State Forest in Andover to participate in a disaster simulation held in conjunction with The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. They were split into four teams that were responsible for setting up and running the simulation field hospital, as well as be responsible for setting up their own shelters for the following night.

Click here for a Harvard Gazette recap of the disaster simulation.

The four teams took turns staffing the field hospital and taking part in different practical field trainings including environmental health, clinical medicine and media preparedness. Unseasonably chilly weather and scattered thunderstorms provided authentic challenges, mimicking hardships often found during humanitarian deployments.

“There’s nothing like shivering in a tent in the forest that really helps you bond with your teammates but also realize that you’re vulnerable and that you need to practice self-care while you are trying to deliver care for others,” Dr. Cranmer said.

“I’m a rookie, so this was a great opportunity to get out here and meet some people, learn some skills and be prepared to be deployed hopefully in the future,” Michelle Winkler-Gettings, RPh, a pharmacist with Partners eCare, said. Winkler-Gettings got to utilize her new skill set as a member of the GDR team that deployed to Mozambique with Team Rubicon on May 8.

Jean Michel, the Haiti Manager of EPECARE, Inc., was attending his second Missioncraft and said through an interpreter that he was paying particular attention to the details of the simulation. He is planning to take much of what he learned and use it at a simulation he is helping to plan in Haiti on January 12, 2020, the ten-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed over 200,000 people.

Missioncraft participants walk to a simulated United Nations Cluster Meeting during the disaster field exercise at Harold Parker State Forest in Andover on Friday, April 26.

David Mather, AS, NREMT-P (Center for Disaster Medicine) and Michelle Winkler-Gettings, RPh, (Partners eCare) work with their team to assemble a shelter near the simulation field hospital.

Kerry Phelan, administrative staff assistant to the executive director of the MGH Center for Global Health, and other volunteers played the role of injured patients to enhance the reality of the field hospital simulation.

Jessica McTighe, PA-C, a member of the GDR team and a physician assistant with the MGH Division of Wilderness Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine, teaches field techniques at the disaster simulation.

Maya Ginns, NP, veteran GDR team leader, leads a wound management exercise in which participants practiced their suturing skills on chicken cutlets.

Missioncraft 2019 participants pose outside of the simulation field hospital at the conclusion of the four day workshop.