2021 Summit

Public Health Emergency and Disaster Research (with)in Response

Environmental Health Summit Concept Note

November 3-4, 2021, NC Biotech Center and virtually

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As disasters increase in frequency and intensity, there is a need to better understand the additional health risks posed by hazardous substances in the environment during and after such an event. North Carolina has a unique set of resources to conduct high quality research to evaluate unique disaster risks and vulnerabilities to help understand the environmental health impacts and to identify strategies to prevent health risks.

This workshop will focus on a single case study of an extreme weather event, similar to past flooding/hurricanes that impacted North Carolina, to explore what environmental health research needs may arise after a storm what current research capacities exist, and to build new relationships and partnership that will better enable North Carolina to respond to future disasters.

Workshop Objectives 

  • Better identify how hazardous substances within the environment may add and complicate the response to a storm-related disaster.
  • Foster increased understanding of the importance of rapid data collection and research in response to disasters by a wide audience of stakeholders, including impacted communities.
  • Identify strategies and platforms to facilitate relationships and knowledge sharing between local, state, federal, academic, and community stakeholders.
  • Explore research tools, protocols, and processes that help support timely clinical, epidemiologic, and environmental monitoring research in response to disasters.
    • Assess community concerns related to disaster-related environmental exposures.
    • Determine state and local disaster research capabilities.
    • Determine state and local ability to prioritize/integrate research needs.
    • Identify mechanisms to mobilize and support rapid response from the North Carolina scientific and technical community.
    • Explore ways to access federal research resources.
    • Explore existing and potential response and recovery relationships.
  • Explore how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and academia can be engaged in research.
  • Identify federal, state and university research resources to be applied into these situations.


  • Best practices in NC Disaster Research Listing
  • Summary of meeting
  • Listing of disaster capabilities and contact information for participants reference

Invited Participants

Everyone has a role in a disaster and many of us in NC have lived through more than we can count. This event welcomes participants from a wide variety of fields:

  • Community organizations involved in disaster response or research projects
  • Emergency and disaster response agencies
  • Researchers in any field relevant to disasters, including health, environmental sciences, water and infrastructure, engineering, medicine, community engagement, and others
  • Students interested in disasters, environment, health and community involvement