Former HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson Addresses Executives Before Day-Long
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives from more than 50 Greater Washington nonprofit organizations meet today with disaster preparedness specialists from Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte), the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington (Roundtable), the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area and The Center for Disability Special Needs and Preparedness, as they participate in a tabletop - or discussion-focused - disaster exercise.
The exercise uses a hypothetical but realistic pandemic flu outbreak in Greater Washington as the catalyst to test and refine Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans drafted by many of these same nonprofit executives during a June 8, 2007 workshop. That workshop kicked off a two-year initiative sponsored by Deloitte and hosted by the Roundtable. Today's session represents the first opportunity for participants to test their COOP plans.
Throughout the day, the group will analyze any gaps or overlaps between COOP plans, address communications challenges, and refine critical cooperation and teamwork efforts between organizations. The long-term goal is to ensure seamless execution in the event of an actual disaster.
The workshop was opened with an address by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "So much attention has been paid in recent years to preventing a pandemic flu outbreak, and we're encouraged by that," said Thompson, the independent chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "But we still have a long way to go. That holds true for nonprofit organizations and for-profit corporations alike. Exercises like these are critical to preparing us on the ground, as well as in the executive suite."
In addition to Secretary Thompson, several high profile disaster preparedness experts and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials are observing the drill or are serving as presenters, including Chris Geldart, director of DHS's Office of National Capital Region Coordination; Darrell Darnell, director of the Washington, DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; Richard Helfrich, Deputy Director, Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services; Reggie Parks, Director, Prince Georges County Office of Emergency Management; Lucy Caldwell, Public Information Officer, Virginia Department of Health, NoVa Region; and Sherry Adams, Assistant Senior Deputy Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration, Washington, D.C. Department of Health.
"Today's exercise is the second in a series of events being conducted as part of Deloitte's two-year 'roadmap to preparedness' program for the regional nonprofit community," said Gary H. Tabach, Deloitte's office managing partner for Greater Washington. "Together with our partners, we are developing a strategic plan to increase the level of preparedness in the critical nonprofit community and to improve coordination and communication - both within the nonprofit community and between nonprofits and regional governments and business in our region."
Today's drill reflects a maturing readiness movement across the country and is being held concurrently with the federal government's "TOPOFF 4" biannual test of its preparedness strategies. In today's tabletop exercise, Deloitte and Roundtable facilitators will walk participants through a chronological set of events starting with the discovery of a pandemic flu outbreak in South America. As the exercise progresses, the simulated pandemic enters the United States and our region, ultimately infecting a significant percentage of the local population and overwhelming resources of unprepared organizations. Participants must implement readiness plans to sustain their operations, while taking steps to slow the spread of the outbreak. The simulation evolves toward a realistic but near-worst case scenario in order to push organizational capabilities to their limits and to accurately test interagency communication and cooperation.
"People depend on nonprofit organizations that serve them for a wide range of support and help," added Chuck Bean, executive director of the Nonprofit Roundtable. "Consequently, it is vital that all community-based and faith- based organizations have preparedness plans in place that will allow them to continue providing services during a pandemic situation."
Participants will leave today's session with a better understanding of government response plans for a public health emergency such as pandemic flu, an assessment of gaps in their current COOP planning, and stronger relationships with their nonprofit peers. Additional Deloitte/Roundtable events designed to continue developing and implementing a regional Strategic Plan for Emergency Preparedness in the nonprofit sector will be announced in the future.
The October 17 event will be held at:
The George Washington University
Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Center
800 21st Street, N.W.
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Deloitte & Touche USA LLP is the U.S. member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. In the U.S., services are provided by the subsidiaries of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte Tax LLP, and their subsidiaries), and not by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.
About the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, based in Washington, D.C., is part of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. The Center is a leading national source of objective and independent health care research. Its mission is to develop practical, innovative and workable solutions to the myriad health care issues affecting the U.S. public and private sectors. For additional information on the Center, please call 202-378-5278 or visit its website: http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/section_node/0,1042,sid%253D80772,00.html.
About the Nonprofit Roundtable
The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington was established in 2002 as a membership organization to build the strength influence and visibility of the nonprofit sector in Greater Washington. The Roundtable has 170 Members across the region, including direct service providers, advocacy organizations, and grant makers. By facilitating collaboration for regional solutions so that nonprofits can do more together, the Roundtable builds the capacity of nonprofit leadership within organizations serving communities in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. We achieve our mission through key initiatives and substantive Member events.
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