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SEPTEMBER 21, 2005
  Expert Commentary on Hurricanes Katrina & Rita Available from University of Pennsylvania Health System

Please call Public Affairs at (215) 662-2560 to schedule an interview.

Topics include:

In the Hurricane Zone

Vivek Ahya, MD, and Daniel Sterman, MD, were among the six critical-care doctors and nurses from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania who boarded a privately-chartered plane to Baton Rouge, LA, in order to help relieve their over-worked colleagues in the Intensive-Care Units at Ochsner Health Care Center and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. “Our goal is to help provide relief to the physicians at those facilities because they’ve had no opportunity to attend to their personal affairs since the hurricane,” explained Sterman.

Vivek Ahya, MD <bio>
Medical Director, Lung Transplantation Program

Daniel Sterman, MD <bio>
Director, Interventional Pulmonary

Contaminated Water & Infectious Agents

Experts believe it could take years for the water supply in New Orleans to be healthy to drink, and much of the city was surrounded by contaminated water. What will be the long-term health issues that hurricane victims will have to face? Paul H. Edelstein, MD, is the Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory and his current areas of interest include Legionnaires disease, molecular pathogenesis of bacterial infections, and pneumonia. Neil O. Fishman, MD, is Director of the Department of Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control; his research interests include models to improve the use of antibiotics, risk factors for the emergence of resistance, the relationship between antimicrobial use and the emergence of resistance, and interventions to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Paul H. Edelstein, MD <bio>
Director, Clinical Microbiology Laboratory

Neil O. Fishman, MD <bio>
Director, Department of Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control
Director, Antimicrobial Management Program

Pulmonary Diseases

With the approach of Hurricane Rita, the number of evacuees living under one roof in shelters across the Gulf Coast will continue to rise...what is the risk of common lung diseases, such as TB and whooping cough? And how will these diseases effect the survivors' long-term health? Milton D. Rossman, MD, is an expert in tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, chronic beryllium disease and the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Milton D. Rossman, MD <bio>
Medical Coordinator Bronchoscopy Service
Director, Pulmonary Clinical Immunology Lab
Director Interstitial Lung Disease Program

Effects of Mold

Many evacuees from the Gulf Coast are longing to return home. When the clean-up begins, how will these people be effected by the level of mold in their homes and communities? S. Michael Phillips, MD's, expertise is in immunology and response to infectious, biologic or chemical agents in the environment

S. Michael Phillips, MD
Chief, Clinical Immunology Service, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center


Psychological Effects

As Director of the Center for the Study & Treatment of Anxiety, Edna B. Foa, PhD, leads a team of ten psychologists at Penn who specialize in the identification and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders. Foa estimates that 15-20% of Hurricane Katrina victims will need counseling and treatment for chronic traumatic stress. To that end, she has offered to share the expertise of her faculty with local relief-agency officials. Mark Salzer, PhD has written on the short- and long-term psychological effects of disasters and has identified resource and social support losses as two key areas that people need in order to return to normalcy and psychological health. He helped develop a "community self-help" program in Philadelphia in response to future local disasters and is consulting with a group that is using this approach in the gulf region in response to Katrina.

Edna B. Foa, PhD <bio>
Director, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety

Mark Salzer, PhD <bio>
Director, University of Pennsylvania Collaborative on Community Integration: The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
Assistant Professor of Psychology


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