Western University of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Vicki Wedel, PhD, of Claremont, Calif., is among 27 professionals from around the country deploying in response to the earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Wedel and other medical personnel from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ agencies, the HHS National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service will assist state and local agencies in the identification and return of victims’ remains to their families and provide information to assist in the identification of the victims.
Wedel is an assistant professor of anatomy at WesternU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and College of Dental Medicine in Pomona, Calif. She has been a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) since 2008.
DMORT is part of the National Disaster Medical System under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Team members are activated following a mass fatality incident to support state, local, and other federal agencies in responding to emergencies.
DMORT members respond as intermittent federal employees. These professionals can include medical examiners, coroners, pathologists, forensic anthropologists, funeral directors, medical record technicians and transcribers, fingerprint specialists, forensic odontologists, dental assistants, X-ray technicians, mental health specialists, computer professionals, and administrative support staff, as well as security and investigative personnel.