The DR2 Program engages with a variety of partners and stakeholders to promote understanding of the need for and importance of disaster research response. Collective actions can improve national and global capacity to collect timely data and conduct studies in response to disasters and public health emergencies. The translation of knowledge from such studies into policies and interventions will strengthen recovery, reduce adverse health impacts, and build resilience, especially in vulnerable populations.
The DR2 Community of Practice includes members of academia; local, state, and federal officials; public health practitioners; emergency management personnel; community advocates; and more. All members engage in discussions, share information, coordinate outreach and training, and collaborate on resource and tool development. Support of these efforts is a strategic priority of the DR2 program.
The DR2 Environmental Health Sciences Network
Disaster research planning pays off after hurricane
NIEHS-funded researchers leveraged partnerships built through the Environmental Health Science Network and DR2 training workshops to improve disaster research response following Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
The DR2 Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Network was created by a group of NIEHS-funded disaster research scientists. In 2020, the group expanded to welcome all environmental health researchers. This vital group coordinates and collaborates on issues related to disaster research response.
The DR2 EHS Network works within the larger DR2 Community of Practice to facilitate the specific engagement of environmental health scientists. Priorities include identifying scientific knowledge gaps and proposing solutions around implementation of disaster research, such as methods development, institutional review board approval, and stakeholder engagement. Recent outcomes of the DR2 EHS Network include a study using the Delphi method to identify and prioritize environmental health research questions related to COVID-19, and the launch in 2021 of inaugural symposia, “Compounding Environmental Health Crises: COVID-19 Research Response.”
Stories from the Environmental Factor (NIEHS Newsletter)
- Routes of Transmission and Exposure Mitigation (January 13, 2021)
- Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 Response (February 4, 2021)
- Addressing COVID-19 Challenges With Community Partners (February 25, 2021)
- COVID-19, Social Vulnerability, and Environmental Injustic (March 2, 2021)
Nicole Errett, Ph.D.
DR2 EHS Network Co-Chair
- University of Washington
Federal Interagency Activities
Intra-NIH Disaster Interest Group (IDIG)
NIEHS coordinates the Intra-NIH Disaster Interest Group (IDIG) of scientists and staff from 15 NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices. The IDIG meets monthly to discuss issues related to improving NIH’s capacity to coordinate, design, and implement timely research to address the health impacts associated with public health emergencies and disasters.
NIH staff interested in joining IDIG, email email@example.com.
Annual Federal Interagency Disaster Research Meeting
Since 2013, the DR2 Program has hosted an annual Federal Interagency Disaster Research Meeting. This meeting provides a venue for federal agencies to share ongoing activities and explore opportunities for coordination and collaboration around disaster research response. Topics of presentation and discussions include funding, communication, vulnerable populations, justice and equity, best practices, data collection and sharing, and more.
Meeting participants reflect the multidisciplinary nature of disaster research response and represent agencies as diverse as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute on Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), among others. The annual meeting, with both a national and international focus, is open to any federal agency staff.
For information on the Annual Federal Interagency Disaster Research Meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) The Action Collaborative on Disaster Research
NIEHS partners with other NIH institutes, federal agencies, the academic community, and public sector representatives to lead the The Action Collaborative on Disaster Research. The Action Collaborative, which is associated with the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies, provides a forum for exchange of ideas on development and integration of population, health care, clinical, environmental, and disaster research.
Activities of the Action Collaborative include:
- A webinar series to advance understanding of challenges, needs, and value of disaster research in supporting communities across the nation:
- The Action Collaborative on Disaster Research Webinar 2: Social Services Disaster Research: The Missing Link – January 22, 2021
- The Action Collaborative on Disaster Research Webinar 1: Back to the Future: Moving the Nation’s Disaster Research Capacity Forward – October 16, 2020
- Rapid response workshops to assess research needs in health emergencies such as the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill, Superstorm Sandy, and the Zika and Ebola outbreaks
For more information, visit The Action Collaborative on Disaster Research.
The DR2 program, consistent with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Global Health Security Agenda, supports efforts of international researchers, governments, and organizations to promote understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics, and the environment.
This knowledge can be leveraged for the purpose of pre-disaster risk assessment, prevention and mitigation, and development and implementation of effective preparedness and response to disasters and public health emergencies. The DR2 Program has been instrumental in promoting the development of disaster research response programs in other countries, providing expertise and consultation.
Two countries have formalized a relationship with the DR2 Program through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan
NIEHS and the Japan National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) signed a MOU on DR2 in 2017. Goals of the agreement include:
- Coordinate and cooperate in chemical safety research
- Facilitate joint efforts to develop and improve DR2 tools and to conduct environmental health research
- Facilitate translation of DR2 materials into Japanese and English
Health Canada, a federal department similar to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is working to establish a DR2 program called CanDR2. NIEHS DR2 staff serve on the CanDR2 advisory board. NIEHS and Health Canada signed a MOU in 2019, and its goals include:
- Develop common platforms and data management strategies for improved public access to DR2 resources, data collections, and training materials
- Promote environmental health research, including chemical safety and disaster research
- Share disaster research scientific investigations, materials, and resources
For more information about these activities, email email@example.com.