In the Wake of Terror

In the Wake of Terror

August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 - Over the weekend, we joined the rest of the nation in watching and processing the responses to the act of domestic terrorism that took place Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. As we contend with these events – as an organization and as human beings – we also take a moment to acknowledge the work of first receivers and responders in healthcare and public health who cared for their fellow citizens during the tumultuous weekend. We recognize the healthcare and community workers who cared for those injured and applaud their character and commitment to their community – many put themselves in jeopardy to assist those in need of care while many remained on call, ready and willing to help. This is a remarkable testament not just to the life-saving jobs they have, but to their character as well. Amid chaos and violence they are a valuable asset to emergency management and community resilience.

The events on Saturday were a difficult and challenging reminder that domestic terrorism is a real threat and hazard in our nation today. These types of events, like many other hazards, have an immense impact on public health. We know that crises cause strain on the mental and social well-being of communities, and this crisis is no different. Like many of our partners, we believe that preparedness must be community-led and community-driven, which is made even more difficult when divisions and strains exist.

The terrorism that took place in Charlottesville demonstrates that terrorist events not only disrupt the health of individuals but also test the strength of a community’s resilience. Fostering unity and building the strong, trusted relationships between community leaders, healthcare providers, law enforcement, and individuals that help create stronger communities takes time. Terrorist events such as this one can destroy these trusted connections and effectively weaken the ability of a community to bounce back from emergency events. The events last weekend remind us that threats and hazards take different forms and can occur suddenly, anywhere.  Healthcare Ready values equity, inclusion, and celebrates diversity as a vital component of community resilience. We will continue to work at a systems level to make sure communities have the resources they require to be resilient.

We must acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to do, and we are committed to helping communities evolve and stay prepared.  Our thoughts remain with the victims of these hateful crimes and all those affected in the Charlottesville, Virginia area.

Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D.

Dr. Nicolette A. Louissaint is the Executive Director of Healthcare Ready. Prior to this position, Nicolette served as the organization's Director of Programming. Before joining Healthcare Ready Nicolette served as a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. During the height of the Ebola Epidemic of 2014, Nicolette served as the Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola. Nicolette earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, specializing in HIV Clinical Pharmacology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.