Crisis in Chile: Public Health Experts

March 2, 2010

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has a number of faculty members with expertise relevant to the recent devastating Earthquake in Chile:


Coordination of response in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is an obvious challenge. Mailman faculty can discuss how to ensure clinical and scientific expertise is available to support key ‘on the ground’ priorities.
Experts: Ron Waldman, Neil Boothby, Richard Garfield, and Irwin Redlener

Public Health Priorities

Reducing the potential for excess deaths due to earthquake-related risks is always an immediate public health priority.  The success of efforts will depend on the ability of the international community to support Chile in employing a competent workforce to operate robust public health systems.
Experts: Neil Boothby and Richard Garfield

Do No Harm

Local resources and capability will be the basis of longer term recovery. It is important to develop guidelines to ensure that all interventions to address mental health and psychosocial support are being used to by all involved.
Experts: Mike Wessells and Alastair Ager

Vulnerability of Children and Family Unity

Children are particularly vulnerable to the health and social consequences of large-scale disasters. Safeguarding the well being, assuring long-term survival, and maintaining family unity are major public health challenges in the aftermath of humanitarian crises and major disasters.
Experts: Neil Boothby and Irwin Redlener

Long-term Mental Health Needs

The Chile earthquake has disrupted the care and treatment of those with major existing psychiatric illnesses, making them among the most vulnerable. In the short term, provision of practical and social supports will be crucial in mitigating the psychological consequences of the disasters. In the longer-term, significant efforts to identify those in the population with enduring mental health needs will be needed.
Expert: Sandro Galea

To schedule an interview with one of the Mailman School experts, please contact Stephanie Berger at 212-305-4372,