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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Georgia Disaster Expert Honored for Role in Creating the NDLS Courses

The University of Georgia’s leading Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) expert was recognized for his role in developing National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) Courses, which have become a national training standard for health care professionals and emergency services personnel responding to mass casualty events.

Dr. Cham Dallas, director of the Institute for Disaster Management in the College of Public Health, received the Ron J. Anderson Public Service Award from the Eagles Coalition, a consortium of United States Major Metropolitan 911 System Medical Directors.

[Photo: Dr. Cham Dallas]

The national award, named for the longtime Texas physician, hospital administrator, and public health advocate, recognizes those who have implemented effective systems of care, education and science in emergency medical services and disaster response.

Dr. Dallas, a professor of health policy and management, shares the honor with five additional members of the original NDLS initiative team — Drs. Richard Schwartz and Philip Coule, from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University; Drs. Paul Pepe and Ray Swienton, from the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Dr. Scott Lillibridge, of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (formerly of the University of Texas Sciences Center in Houston).

The early courses were developed after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, which revealed to Dr. Dallas and his five longtime colleagues and collaborators how differently responding agencies were often trained. After 9/11, when the need for these types of courses became a national priority, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave members of the prospective NDLS team a directive to develop standardized courses that could be widely disseminated among military, federal and civilian responders.

The result was a group of courses designed to optimally prepare a wide array of providers – from police to paramedics to hospital administrators and firefighters – to work together seamlessly in the aftermath of natural or human-made disasters. The overarching goal was to give all types of responders a common knowledge base and jargon and to eliminate ambiguity while also facilitating the best care for victims.

“Over 120,000 health care professionals have been trained through the NDLS system, including a very large proportion of the current leaders in mass casualty management worldwide,” said Dallas. “This training curricula has been very influential in establishing policy in many quarters, especially in high impact scenarios such as nuclear war and global emerging infectious diseases.”

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