June 2, 2017

Committee update – Disaster Rehabilitation Committee (DRC)

ISPRM has prioritized the role of medical rehabilitation in disaster management in its agenda. In accordance with WHO-ISPRM Liaison initiative the ISPRM Disaster Rehabilitation Committee (DRC) (previously Committee on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief) was officially formed at 5th ISPRM World Congress (Istanbul, Turkey, 2009), to advocate for the physical and rehabilitation medicine perspective in minimizing disability, optimizing function and health-related quality of life in persons who sustain traumatic injury and those with pre-existing disability in natural or man-made disasters. The DRC also collaborates with the WHO Liaison Committee on WHO disaster-related disability initiatives, and provides technical resources for optimizing the health, function and quality of life of persons who sustain injuries due to large-scale disasters.

The strategic objectives of the ISPRM DRC include:

  • provide technical education and other online resources on professional humanitarian rehabilitation response;
  • facilitate post-disaster rehabilitation response by ISPRM members;
  • host symposia on disaster rehabilitation and convene committee sessions at annual ISPRM World Congresses and other professional meetings;
  • conduct and facilitate disaster rehabilitation research;
  • write peer-reviewed discussion and scientific papers on disaster rehabilitation;
  • providing expert opinion on disaster rehabilitation to WHO and other stakeholder organizations;
  • partner with the WHO, other international rehabilitation professional societies, and other organizations to advance global disaster rehabilitation response; policy and where feasible mobilization of financial resources to support emergency disaster rehabilitation response.

The committee’s proposed work plan includes:

  • coordination with national rehabilitation societies via ISPRM WHO regional representatives to establish national society disaster committees;
  • partner with local and national disaster authorities to develop a rehabilitation disaster response infrastructure that would strengthen local response capability and facilitate the international response depending on the scale of the disaster;
  • building a rehabilitation disaster response capability in low-resource regions;
  • establish a subject matter expert database (ISPRM members) and training in the policy and practice of disaster rehabilitation.

The ISPRM DRC was actively involved in the WHO-Emergency Medical Team initiative, and in particular contributed to the development of the Rehabilitation Minimum Standard Guidelines. Further, there is opportunity to use the ISPRM database which can serve multiple purposes as a repository of disaster rehabilitation expertise, which will facilitate deployment of rehabilitation physicians and other rehabilitation professionals in support of international rehabilitation disaster relief efforts.

Current Executive members include: Jan Reinhardt (Chair), Fary Khan (Chair Elect), Philipinas Ganchoon, Shaun Xiang (Secretary), Taslim Uddin (Finance Officer), Jianan Li (PC Liaison) and Jim Gosney (past Chair).

The committee looks forward to contributing to the ISPRM 2018 meeting in Paris.

By Fary Khan, ISPRM DRC Chair Elect