Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2019 September, 249(1)

Editorial: The 100th Anniversary of the TJEM

Challenges of Global Public Health Emergencies: Development of a Health-Crisis Management Framework


1Professor (Ret.), Senior Fellow and Scientist, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA, USA
2Senior International Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, USA

Modern day health care providers have traditionally only focused on meeting the response phase requirements of disasters. The emergence of complex global public health crises such as climate change and extremes, biodiversity loss, emergencies of scarcity, rapid unsustainable urbanization, migrant and refugee surges, domestic and international terrorism, cyber-security, the civilianization of war and conflict, and the global rise of resistant antibiotics has resulted in an unprecedented rise in direct and indirect mortality and morbidity. These crises are beyond the current decision-making and operational capabilities of traditional disaster management and its providers most of who are community level practitioners representing every discipline. The 1930s “disaster cycle” concept describes a phase-related approach to meeting the strategic, operational, research, educational, and training components required of disasters; and, presents an opportunity for the structured development of a Health Crisis Management Framework to oversee the phase-related strategic and operational requirements for prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation challenges of major global public health crises. Whereas this approach mimics the manner in which practitioners at every level of society identify with in their daily practices, this approach deserves the support of every clinician, researcher, academic, and ancillary health care provider. Interestingly, this was also the intent of the original 1930 disaster cycle concept.

Keywords —— disaster cycle; disasters; global health crises; multidisciplinary framework; public health emergencies


Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2019, 249, 33-41

Correspondence: Frederick M. Burkle Jr., M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M., Ph.D. (Hon.), F.A.A.P., F.A.C.E.P., Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, 14 Story Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.