Site Launch Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEB. 19, 2014
Contact: Lauren Fischer
NEW INITIATIVE TO MAKE LOS ANGELES SAFER IN DISASTER
The Annenberg Foundation-funded initiative led by a UCLA doctor and professor focuses on medical disasters
Los Angeles – UCLA physician and professor Dr. Peter Katona today launched the website Emergency Prepareness Information Center Los Angeles, domained at EPICenterLA.org. Designed to engage users with resources and personal storytelling, the site is a component of the nationally recognized bioterror expert's multi-year disaster resilience project.
The project, funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation, is examining the ability of the Los Angeles health care system to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Content was developed for multiple audiences: medical community, public health, policy professionals, political leadership, individual residents, and journalists seeking to more effectively report on disasters.
EPICenter LA will function as a bidirectional tool to both cull and disseminate best practices, local stories, available resources, comprehensive organization charts, leading edge research, and innovative technology.
Mapping and publishing a blueprint of jurisdiction in Los Angeles County is a key feature of the platform. "In a county of over 10 million people, multiple jurisdictions, dozens of ethnicities, and competing voices, who would be in charge when a disaster hits? How would resources be coordinated? How well would public health work with those that provide medical care? All of this must be established in advance of an event," Katona said.
The impetus to employ the democratizing nature of technology to resolve access disparities arose from Katona's appointment at Louisiana State University's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training as well as his relationship with Dartmouth College.
Multiple avenues of participation are available through the website, with links to relevant organizations to obtain further training, information, and advocacy.
"Having proper access to relevant and timely information is essential when a disaster strikes," said Katona. "We hope that EPICenter LA will help people both better prepare for and better manage a medical disaster."
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