Chicago medical response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti: Translating academic collaboration into direct humanitarian response

Christine Babcock, Carolyn Baer, Jamil D. Bayram, Stacey Chamberlain, Jennifer Lisa Chan, Shannon R Galvin, Jimin Kim, Melodie Kinet, Rashid F. Kysia, Janet Lin, Mamta Malik, Robert Leo Murphy, C. Sola Olopade, Christian Theodosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake in Haiti resulted in approximately 212 000 deaths, 300 000 injuries, and more than 1.2 million internally displaced people, making it the most devastating disaster in Haiti's recorded history. Six academic medical centers from the city of Chicago established an interinstitutional collaborative initiative, the Chicago Medical Response, in partnership with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti that provided a sustainable response, sending medical teams to Haiti on a weekly basis for several months. More than 475 medical volunteers were identified, of whom 158 were deployed to Haiti by April 1,2010. This article presents the shared experiences, observations, and lessons learned by all of the participating institutions. Specifically, it describes the factors that provided the framework for the collaborative initiative, the communication networks that contributed to the ongoing response, the operational aspects of deploying successive medical teams, and the benefits to the institutions as well as to the NGOs and Haitian medical system, along with the challenges facing those institutions individually and collectively. Academic medical institutions can provide a major reservoir of highly qualified volunteer medical personnel that complement the needs of NGOs in disasters for a sustainable medical response. Support of such collaborative initiatives is required to ensure generalizability and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-173
Number of pages5
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Earthquake
  • Haiti
  • Medical disaster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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