Gillings on the Ground:
Disaster Response Training Programs
From hurricanes to COVID-19, public health practitioners work together to solve some of the world's most pressing emergencies and disasters.
What is Gillings on the Ground?
Gillings on the Ground combines cohort-based learning with interdisciplinary training to develop a team of students and faculty primed with the skills – and the structure and coordination within the Gillings School – to work with communities in disaster preparedness and relief. Gillings on the Ground is open to not only Gillings faculty and students, but anyone interested in learning more about disaster response and emergency management.
Gillings on the Ground is a two-semester training program with a six-week “mini-course” in the fall semester and a hands-on component in the spring semester. The six-week mini-course in the fall semester consists of didactic sessions led by Gillings faculty and community members with years of experience in disaster response and emergency preparedness. These sessions cultivate skills focused on various aspects of disaster relief, public health and community engagement, with an emphasis on health equity in disaster response. Following the completion of the fall course, trainees will be awarded a certificate of completion.
For the spring semester, Gillings on the Ground connects participants with community partners to complete disaster-related service or training opportunities as a cohort. During the spring 2022 semester, Gillings on the Ground partnered with UNC-Wilmington, Appalachian State University, New Hanover County Public Health Department and the American Red Cross to offer an opportunity to participate in fieldwork-specific didactic sessions and a hands-on shelter simulation on UNC-Wilmington’s campus. Once students completed the spring didactic sessions and the shelter simulation, they were eligible to become American Red Cross volunteers through a streamlined application process.
After completing the Gillings on the Ground trainings, participants will have the foundation and knowledge to volunteer and more effectively engage in disaster relief efforts. We welcome any students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members interested in disaster response to join us this fall!
Gillings on the Ground Overview and Student Perspectives
Check out our video to learn more about Gillings on the Ground and student perspectives!Watch the video
Doreen Alumaya, a Gillings MPH student and a shelter simulation skills station lead, teaches students about best practices for infant feeding in emergencies.
Gillings on the Ground students get briefed on the shelter simulation by American Red Cross volunteers.
Appalachian State University students and faculty (left to right), Aaron Elkins, Abby Cope, Sophia Filiault, and Jennifer Schroeder Tyson, made the trip to UNC-Wilmington to attend the shelter simulation!
Bryan Lewis, a UNC Gillings student, learns how to set up the registration desk in a shelter.
Norma Escobar, a lactation consultant, Breastfeeding Coordinator and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Manager for the New Hanover County Women, Infants and Children (WIC), teaches students the importance of safe infant feeding in shelters.
Gillings on the Ground students learn how to set up and take down cots in an emergency shelter.
Audrey Hart, Emergency Management Specialist at New Hanover County, and Doreen Alumaya, a Gillings MPH student, teach participants the importance of safe infant sleeping and feeding in emergency shelters.
Gillings on the Ground participants learn how to address medical needs and provide psychological first aid in sheltering situations.
50 participants from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, Appalachian State and throughout North Carolina successfully completed both semesters of Gillings on the Ground and the inaugural shelter simulation!
Fall 2022 Training Program Schedule
Week One: Emergencies in Public Health
Wednesday, October 12, 5:30-7 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Quintana Stewart, Orange County health director
- Amy Belflower Thomas, director of Community Assessment and Strategy at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH)
Week Two: Disaster Preparedness
Monday, October 17, 5:30-7 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Ashley Stoop, director of Policy, Planning and Preparedness at Albemarle Regional Health Services
Week Three: Disaster Response
Monday, October 24, 5:30-7 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Kimberly Clement, program manager of the Healthcare Preparedness Program at the NCDHHS
- Bill Gentry, director of the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management Certificate Program and associate professor of Health Policy and Management
Week Four: Disaster Recovery
Wednesday, November 2, 6:30-8 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Pastor Anthony Gibson, senior pastor of Peletah Ministries
- Dr. Dawn Baldwin-Gibson, executive pastor of Peletah Ministries and superintendent of Peletah Academic Center for Excellence
Week Five: Disaster Mitigation
Wednesday, November 9, 6:30-8 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Sheila Davies, Dare County public health director
- John Wallace, senior data advisor at the NCIPH
Week 6: Lactation and Infant Feeding in Disaster Settings
Monday, November 14, 5:30-7 p.m. ET via Zoom
- Malaika Ludman, program administrator, Infant Ready Program at New Orleans Breastfeeding Center
Fall 2022 Session Recordings
Fall 2022 Week 1: Emergencies in Public Health
Listen to Quintana Stewart, Orange County Health Director, and Amy Belflower Thomas, director of Community Assessment and Strategy at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, speak about emergencies in public health.Watch the video
Fall 2022 Week 2: Disaster Preparedness
Listen to Ashley Stoop speak about best practices in disaster preparedness and crisis communications.Watch the video
Fall 2022 Week 3: Disaster Response
Listen to Kimberly Clement, program manager of the Healthcare Preparedness Program at the NCDHHS, and Bill Gentry, director of the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management Certificate Program and associate professor of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, speak about disaster response.Watch the video
Fall 2022 Week 4: Disaster Recovery
Listen to Dr. Dawn Baldwin-Gibson and Pastor Anthony Gibson speak about disaster recovery, reflective listening, and trauma-informed care.Watch the video
Fall 2022 Week 5: Disaster Mitigation
Listen to Sheila Davies and John Wallace speak about disaster mitigation.Watch the video
Fall 2022 Week 6: Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies
Listen to Malaika Ludman speak about lactation and infant feeding in emergencies.Watch the video