2021 Summit

Disaster Research Response and Public Health Emergencies: Creating an Environment for Resilience in North Carolina

Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative

13th Annual Environmental Health Summit


2021 Summit Work Product

2021 Summit Agenda

2021 Summit Presentations

Disaster Research Response and Public Health Emergencies: Creating an Environment for Resilience in North Carolina

Dates:  November 3-4, 2021
Online (Zoom virtual platform)

As disasters like hurricanes and floods increase in frequency, now more than ever, is the time to plan for how we will utilize the many capabilities in our state to respond to future events in North Carolina.  Traditional response agencies, as well as researchers, can all bring valuable assets and data to answer post-disaster questions and to improve the response in the future.  This meeting aims to bring everyone together to share, meet and plan.


Public health emergencies and disasters such as infectious disease outbreaks; extreme heat events; chemical accidents and spills; and hurricanes, floods, and wildfires threaten human health and well-being, as well as the safety and quality of our environment. Due to its geography, meteorology, and demographics, North Carolina is regularly faced with myriad public health emergencies and disasters. Past emergencies and disasters have demonstrated gaps in our capacity to conduct environmental health research, including data and sample collection, during and in the immediate aftermath of such events. Such research is critical for understanding the extent of current and potential future health risks and provides a basis for public communication about whether and how people should act to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

Disaster research response (DR2) provides a framework for conducting time-critical human health research in the context of emergency and disaster situations This Summit will serve as an introduction of the concept of DR2 and an exploration by stakeholders across North Carolina, drawing on the broad community of environmental health, biomedicine, information technology, and health systems researchers, community advocates, policy makers, and others. The Summit will also highlight tools and best practices for engaging with the most vulnerable, including environmental justice communities.

Workshop Objectives

  • 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 government, academic, health care/medical, community, and other 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, research, and response
  • 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 funding and partnership opportunities