The National Library of Medicine of the U.S. National Institutes of Health recognizes the importance of improving information management and access to information resources about health and disasters as a way to assist national efforts in managing emergencies and disasters. The creation of the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) in 2008 reflects strong commitment to that goal.
The Center has made significant progress in collecting and disseminating material about the health effects of disasters, making it more accessible to health professionals, first responders, and the public.
For the period 2010-2012, the DIMRC plans to expand their work on disaster medicine and emergency management and develop new resources to meet information needs. The plan focuses on identifying and using best practices to ensure access to public health information during disasters; developing new products and services for first response and preparedness activities; conducting research on managing health information relating to disasters; and collaborating with other agencies, communities, and public health officials in efforts to prevent, respond, and reduce the adverse effects of disasters on health.
Future activities planned by the Center include: the development of online resources to disseminate literature on disasters and health; training and certification; new tools to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear hazards; research on improving hospital communication systems during major events; and collaboration with hospitals and libraries.
The web site of the Disaster Information Management Research Center provides information on health and disasters, including:
1. Tools for emergency response
- Radiation emergency medical management (REMM): Guidance on the clinical diagnosis and treatment of mass casualty radiological/nuclear events for health care providers.
- Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER): A system to help emergency responders identify hazardous materials and respond to chemical emergencies. Contains information on over 400 chemical, biological, and radiologic agents.
2. Literature on medicine and public health
- PubMed: a database that contains references on disaster/emergency preparedness and response, including natural disasters, bioterrorism, chemical terrorism, and pandemic influenza.
- PubMed Central: free digital archive of thousands of articles on disaster preparedness and emergency response.
- Resource guide for public health preparedness: access to resources, online and at no cost, about public health preparedness. This includes expert guidelines, fact sheets, websites, technical reports, articles, and other tools intended for the public health community.
3. Toxicology Information Network (TOXNET): more than 14 databases available on toxicology, toxic chemical releases, and environmental health.
For more information, visit http://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov