The Florida Institute for Health Innovation (FIHI) has been chosen to serve as one of five regional technical assistance centers for the Hurricane Response Hub initiative led by the National Network of Public Health Institutes, according to Roderick K. King, M.D., M.P.H., director and assistant dean for public health education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and C.E.O. of FIHI.
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hurricane Response Hub is a national program designed to enhance disaster-related surveillance and environmental and occupational health recovery efforts in areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Working with a range of state and regional partners, including Florida International University and the Florida Department of Health, FIHI will serve as the coordinating body within Florida to lead public health workforce capacity-building activities across the state.
Dr. King said that the training and resources developed through this initiative will help health departments, public health institutes, emergency management, law enforcement, health care providers, government entities, and other organizations build workforce capacity and institutional knowledge that will improve disaster-related recovery in the future.
"We’ve seen in recent years that the resilience of communities is closely related to the emergency response following hurricanes and the preparedness of our public health workforce," Dr. King said. “This initiative represents a significant step toward improving the resilience of Florida's disaster-preparedness and emergency response workforce. Strengthening and building the capacity of this workforce will enable us to act quickly, efficiently, and collectively in response to future disasters.”
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey inundated large swaths of Houston, while Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage to the Florida Keys. In 2018, Hurricane Michael devastated Mexico Beach and other parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Recovery efforts from these storms are ongoing, and many organizations still need assistance to ensure disaster-related environmental and occupational health best practices are applied to their work.
Formerly known as the Florida Public Health Institute, FIHI is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that improves community health through innovation and collaborative change. It facilitates data-driven, results-based collaborative action, conducts community-focused research and evaluation, and provides impartial analysis of policy health impacts. FIHI collaborates closely with the Miller School of Medicine, according to Dr. King, and supports the public health practice work of the school’s Department of Public Health Sciences.