About the Program – Disaster Research Response (DR2) Program

Disasters and public health emergencies—whether local or global, natural or human-caused—result in unique combinations of human exposures, hazards, and stressors. These conditions are often not well understood in terms of their immediate physical and mental health impacts, as well as longer-term consequences.

Disaster Research Response Program

The National Institutes of Health Disaster Research Response (DR2) program leads U.S. efforts and works with global partners to improve capacity for timely research related to disasters and public health emergencies. NIEHS coordinates the program. For more information, please see: NIH Disaster Research Response (DR2) Program (1MB)
Too often, basic questions on the safety and health of communities impacted by a disaster or public health emergency, as well as of those who respond to such events, go unanswered. The historical lack of research that considers questions such as these is a critical missed opportunity. Such questions might include:

Are the risks different for certain people such as pregnant women, older adults, or those with pre-existing health conditions?
How do we accurately measure environmental exposures over time? How do we intervene to prevent harm from them?
How do we diagnose and treat harm that has occurred?
Is my home and yard safe for my family and pets?
Is it OK to breath the air, drink the water, or eat food grown in our neighborhood?
What are the best strategies for reducing potential physical and mental health effects, both immediately and over the long term?
What are the burdens on underserved communities with a history of elevated toxic exposures?
Environmental health sciences (EHS) research that is appropriately integrated into existing and emerging response frameworks for disasters and public health emergencies can help attain answers. This information can inform future response, recovery, and preparedness efforts, which in turn, will help increase resiliency among individuals, communities, and nations.

The knowledge that is generated through well-designed, effectively executed research in anticipation of, in the midst of, and after an emergency is critical to our future capacity to better achieve the overarching goals of preparedness and response: preventing injury, illness, disability, and death, and supporting recovery.
Lurie N, Manolio T, Patterson AP, Collins F, Frieden T. Research as a Part of Public Health Emergency Response. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013 Mar 28;368:1251-1255.
The NIH Disaster Research Response (DR2) Program spearheads U.S. efforts and works with global partners to improve capacity for timely disaster and public health emergency research through:

Access to highly relevant research tools through the DR2 Resources Portal.
Connection to a broadly inclusive DR2 Community of Practice.
Information on research and engagement Funding & Support.
Support for Human Studies & Research Ethics in the context of disasters.
Training & Education materials, workshops, and symposia.
— Read on www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/disaster/about/index.cfm


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