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Incident Management System for Public Health Emergencies


At this point in your education, everybody should be intimately familiar with the incident management system. One of the major faults of an otherwise widely accepted and practiced concept is that ICS does not address incidents which have as their root cause or primary outcome public health and/or medical focus. Yes, ICS has an operations sector which includes the treatment of patients and a logistics function which includes the care of emergency responders, but this is generally insufficient for incidents with large numbers of patients. What happens when the disaster incident is 10,000 patients with the plague and your city has to establish an incident management team to handle the consequences? Do you ask the fire chief to provide all the deputies and assistants?

Most, if not all, of you have neither seen nor heard of the Medical and Health Incident Management System (MaHIM). This is a system well ahead of its time that was developed by the physician who trained Dr Jaslow and those he works with in Washington, DC. For those of you who always wondered how in the heck you would ever manage an incident that lives primarily in the medical sector, here is your golden egg. Enjoy! One word of warning: this is a functional system for incident management, not an organizational chart of position descriptions. Do you know the difference?

Required Reading

1. Joseph Barbera, et al. Medical and Health Incident Management System.MaHIM.pdf


2. Joseph Barbera et al. Graphic display of MaHIM.MaHIM poster.pdf

3. Public Health ICS (for public health departments) Public Health ICS structure

The following link will assist you in gaining better knowledge of the Hospital ICS.



MaHIM appears complicated but it mirrors the standard ICS matrix in terms of its design. There are five sectors: Command, Operations, Logistics, Planning and Admin/Finance. However, the system is not actually a roadmap for assigning persons to perform tasks. Rather, it is a map whose purpose is to remind an incident manager of all the tasks which much be accomplished during a complex health emergency and it groups those tasks into functional sectors.

Assignment: Read both MaHIM and the Public Health ICS document. Create 15 Powerpoint slides discussing: (1) the difference between MaHIM and the public health ICS, (2) the major functional subgroups contained within the sector of your choosing (Admin/Finance), (3) critical actions for the first 24 hours of an incident from the public health perspective (category 5 hurricane in Miami).

Remember to describe your answer in terms of public health emergencies, not fire-rescue incident types.

APA Style.

Tips for a good PowerPoint presentation: You will be graded not only on the content but also the visual appeal and general effectiveness of your presentation in conveying the content.

Slides should have no more than 4-6 lines of text per slide, and 1-3 ideas per slide max. Text should be in bullet format, not paragraph/prose format. Information should be conveyed in a concise but comprehensible manner. Do not write too much, as this creates a crowded slide which is visually overwhelming. Your meaning will get lost in the slide and your audience will lose interest. Do not write too little as this makes it difficult to understand your intended meaning. You may receive a lower grade because it will not be clear that you understood the concepts. Use photos and diagrams thoughtfully to supplement and advance your presentations, not just as meaningless filler.

Each presentation should have a title slide, an objective slide and one or more reference slides. The title slide should contain the title of your presentation, your full name, the date and DMM-643. The objectives slide should outline the main bullet points that your presentation will cover. These should be analogous to lessons you expect your intended target audience to learn from your presentations. Your target audience has a basic disaster management background equivalent to your own. You do not need to include background material such as the history of ICS in your presentation.

The number of slides will be assigned for each presentation. The student may go above that number by 2-3 slides but may not go below the assigned number. The assigned number of slides does NOT INCLUDE the title, objectives or reference slides. It also will not include slides with pictures or diagrams unless those slides substantively advance the presentation. This means that if this were a live presentation you would spend at least one minute discussing that picture/diagram. If you use photos or other multimedia in your presentation and it is not your own work (i.e., you took it from the internet) you MUST reference it on the slide (as opposed to the references slide at the end.

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