Driven by Disaster

Catastrophes — from hurricanes to mass shootings to epidemics — present the medical community with care challenges as complex and traumatic as the disasters themselves. The 2017 Colloquium will focus on how medical professionals are adapting technology and introducing smart innovations to meet these challenges.

Driven by Disaster


Colloquium Presenters

Dr. Sheri Fink
Author and New York Times correspondent

Dr. Sheri FinkDr. Sheri Fink, an author and New York Times correspondent, has expertise on the health care of disasters that extends beyond her award-winning reporting on Memorial Hospital in New Orleans. Stories by Dr. Fink and her Times colleagues on the West Africa Ebola crisis also were recognized with the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.

Dr. Fink is the author of The New York Times best-selling book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital about choices made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She is a correspondent at the New York Times, where her and her colleagues' stories on the West Africa Ebola crisis were recognized with the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, the George Polk Award for health reporting, and the Overseas Press Club Hal Boyle Award. Her story "The Deadly Choices at Memorial," co-published by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, received a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and a National Magazine Award for reporting.

A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, Fink received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her first book, War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival (PublicAffairs), is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Five Days at Memorial was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for nonfiction, the Ridenhour Book Prize, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Book Award, the American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award, and the NASW Science in Society Journalism Book Award.

Dr. Joseph Ibrahim
Medical director, Orlando Regional Medical Center

Dr. Joseph IbrahimDr. Joseph Ibrahim serves as trauma medical director at Orlando Regional Medical Center, the treatment focal point when a gunman opened fire on hundreds of patrons of the Pulse nightclub in June 2016. The resulting carnage — 49 dead, 53 critically wounded — would prove to be a dubious model for the catastrophic events that regularly challenge today’s medical community.

Board certified in both general surgery and surgical critical care, Dr. Ibrahim joined Orlando Health’s Department of Surgical Education in 2012. He earned his medical degree in 2003 from James H. Quillen College of Medicine, where he was awarded the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Award. He was recognized as Outstanding Surgical Resident while at East Tennessee State University.

As a surgical educator, Dr. Ibrahim holds academic appointments with Florida State University and the University of Central Florida. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the Southeastern Surgical Congress.

Dr. Michael Osterholm
Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Dr. Michael OsterholmDr. Michael Osterholm directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. A member of the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine, Dr. Osterholm is a nationally recognized expert regarding the use of biological agents as catastrophic weapons against civilians.

After 9/11, Dr. Osterholm served as Special Adviser to the Health and Human Services secretary on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. He holds academic degrees from Luther College and the University of Minnesota, including a doctorate in environmental health. He has received five major research awards from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Among his numerous honors are the CDC's Charles C. Shepard Science Award and the Harvey W. Wiley Medal from the Federal Drug Administration.

Dr. Vivian Huang
Physician/Epidemiologist, Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Vivian HuangDr. Vivian Huang is board certified in internal medicine and preventative medicine, and she holds a master's degree in Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She has been a humanitarian aid worker since 2010, including stints in Swaziland, Syria and Sierra Leone.

With Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médicins San Frontières, Dr. Huang worked as a general practitioner in 2013 at a clinic opened by DWB in a school classroom in Syria, which was racked by civil war that had created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. With unreliable electricity and clean-water supplies, Syrians were exposed to urinary tract infections and preventable diseases such as measles, chickenpox and typhoid fever. DWB was one of the few international medical organizations responding with support such as field hospitals, trauma centers, burn units and medical care.

In 2012, with DWB, Dr. Huang worked in an MDR-TB project in Swaziland. In 2015, she worked with Partners in Health in Sierra Leone, responding to the world's worst Ebola outbreak. Currently, Dr. Huang serves as Director of Adult Immunization and Emergency Preparedness at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.