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University of Iowa News Release

June 4, 2003

(Photo: Peter Teahen)

Mass Fatalities Response Is Topic Of June 12 Presentation

Events such as airplane crashes, natural disasters, industrial accidents or terrorist acts may result in a large number of deaths. When faced with the chaos surrounding a mass fatalities incident, emergency and health care providers must be appropriately trained to protect public health, preserve evidence and ensure the physical and emotional well-being of survivors and responders.

On Thursday, June 12, Peter Teahen, director of the National Mass Fatalities Institute, will present, "Managing Chaos: Responding to a Mass Fatalities Incident." The free program will be from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 22 of the Nursing Building on the University of Iowa campus. It also will be broadcast live over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and via streaming video on the web.

In his presentation, Teahen will define a mass fatalities response, describe the need for a systematic method of managing the incident, explain the planning process for a mass fatalities incident, and list the operational sites and functions of a mass fatalities incident.

The program is part of the spring 2003 Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP). Advanced registration is requested and may be completed online at Links to the live web broadcast, as well as archives of past presentations, are available on the center's web site.

Teahen is the director of the National Mass Fatalities Institute located on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to being a licensed Iowa Funeral Director, Teahen volunteers as a national and international media spokesperson and a government liaison officer for the American Red Cross. He is recognized for his work on aviation disasters and is internationally known for his work in critical incident stress management. He has been involved in 29 major disasters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, including the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

The presentation is sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness, based in the UI College of Public Health, and the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant from the CDC through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

For more information about the Grand Rounds series, contact Jörg Westermann, Ph.D., director of continuing education, Center for Public Health Practice, at (319) 384-4294 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319- 335-9647,

PHOTO: A picture of Peter Teahen is available at