In March, Heart to Heart International completed the first virtual Disaster Response Team Workshop of 2021. In pre-COVID times, these workshops were in-person ways to train disaster response team members on everything from standard deployment procedures to disaster medicine best practices. Because disasters don’t stop regardless of COVID, the HHI disaster response team developed a new virtual format to train volunteers.
Twenty-one volunteers attended this five-day workshop where they were able to interact with fellow volunteers, and hear from guest speakers on a variety of topics, including tropical medicine, humanitarian principles, disaster medicine, safety and security, and psychological first aid.
Volunteers even completed a virtual simulation of a deployment to an earthquake to practice responding as a team.
We are all grateful for our volunteers and their willingness to spend their time with us. It will be great to see everyone apply these lessons learned on the next deployment.
Employee Spotlight: Brittni Blaser
Brittni Blaser, Heart to Heart International’s Disaster Response Coordinator was instrumental in planning and ensuring this virtual Disaster Response Workshop was a success. Brittni quickly became HHI’s subject matter expert on Moodle, our new learning management system. Her work with Moodle provides our DRT volunteers an easy-to-use learning platform to access training materials and prepare for not only the workshop, but upcoming deployments.
Brittni has also taken the Hope Faith project from an impromptu outdoor clinic to an established indoor clinic where we can provide patients not just acute care, but provide a regular and trusted site people can return to. In addition to running the clinic, she has helped facilitate a partnership with Research College of Nursing to provide mentorship for nurse practitioner students. She also established the first aid station at Hope Faith’s Cold Weather Center ensuring that families and vulnerable individuals have refuge from the cold and can rest with the peace of mind that there is someone on site that can help with any health concerns.
Whether it is a person experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, a person impacted by a disaster, or a DRT volunteer needing to prepare to deploy, Brittni’s hard work ensures that all their needs are met.” – Heather Lee, Director of Disaster Response, Heart to Heart International.
Brittni has a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management and Global Sustainability from Park University and a Master in International Healthcare Management, Economics, and Policy with a concentration in Global Health from SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy. She has volunteered with the Khmer Institute for National Development in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and worked with the Belize Red Cross on its Zika project. She began working at HHI shortly after deploying as a volunteer for our Hurricane Michael response in Florida.
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