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EM Team Attends 3rd Emergency Preparedness Symposium Meeting

April 29, 2019


The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) hosts a regular meeting for the members of the New York City Health Care Coalition (HCC), called Emergency Preparedness Symposium (EPS). This meeting provides relevant information on emergency preparedness for all the coalition partners.  


On April 9, 2019, CHCANYS emergency management team attended the third EPS and here are the highlights from the meeting:



Emergency Preparedness Symposium (EPS) # 3


This meeting was jointly hosted by DOHMH and the Staten Island Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), i.e. Staten Island Borough Coalition. The meeting was held at the CUNY School of Law in Long Island City, NY. 


Dr. Celia Quinn, Director of the DOHMH Bureau of Healthcare System Readiness, provided opening remarks and welcomed all attendees to the meeting. She then invited Sharmila Rao Thakkar (Program Director, Staten Island Not for Profit Association) to the stage as the COAD co-host of the meeting.


Sharmila then introduced her Staten Island COAD panel, which consisted of:

  • Trientina Campbell, Director of Environmental Safety/ EPC (Richmond University Medical Center);

  • Ginny Mantello, Director of Health and Wellness (Office of the Staten Island Borough President); and

  • Fern Aaron Zagor, Executive Director (Staten Island Mental Health Society & Department of Psychiatry at Richmond University Medical Center). 


The panel discussed the history of the coalition, how the organization was founded and became COAD, what initiatives COAD is currently working on and some of the plans for the future. The panel highlighted the importance of mental health in disaster response and recovery and how close-knit Staten Island community was, thus making the COAD approach somewhat unique among other NYC borough coalitions, and some innovative initiatives the COAD undertook. For example, using Staten Island Performing Provider System (PPS) in situational awareness notifications was highlighted. Another highlight of the presentation is that the coalition has two community health centers as active members (Beacon Christian Community Health Center and Community Health Center of Richmond), who represent the community-based health care perspective for health care emergency planning, response and recovery. 



Here are COAD's current initiatives:

  • Education and Training

    • Peer exchange and best practices

    • Emergency Management session at the local conference

    • Performing Arts readiness project

    • Webinars and educational training opportunities

    • Call-down drills

  • Outreach

  • Member communications, e.g. listserv, Facebook, newsletter etc. 


Following the presentation by Staten Island COAD, CHCANYS EM team participated in a facilitated discussion on SurgeEx, or the coalition surge exercise. As a reminder, this exercise is mandatory for the NYC HCC, as it is required by the funder, i.e. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). CHCANYS represented the community health care perspective, although community health centers are not mandated to participate in this particular exercise this year, even though DOHMH and CHCANYS are working on making this exercise relevant for all members of the coalition, including community health centers. The facilitated discussion was followed by each group reporting their findings to the larger audience. 


The meeting was adjourned after a round of questions and answers. 


To learn more about New York City Health Care Coalition or if you are interested to become a more active member of the coalition as a community health center, contact CHCANYS EM Team at


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