Healthcare Symposium Sets New Attendance Record

(HOUSTON, TX) – The 2018 Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (RHPC) Symposium wrapped up last week, setting a new attendance record. More than 520 healthcare professionals, first responders, emergency managers, government officials and vendors attended this year’s event.* Hosted by the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the symposium focused on disaster preparedness and response. World-renowned health professionals, first-responders and security experts shared lessons learned from recent natural disasters and mass casualty incidents.

“Leveraging these peer resources helps us gain valuable insight on how we can better prepare for the next major disaster,” said SETRAC Chief Executive Officer Darrell Pile. “We all know how crucial it is to strengthen and enhance the capabilities of our healthcare systems to be able to respond to evolving threats and other emergencies.”

The symposium was comprised of headliner keynote speakers along with practical learning and sharing sessions, and free time to engage and network with colleagues from across the country and abroad. The presenters discussed the impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Maria, the Las Vegas and Santa Fe shootings, the Washington, D.C. Amtrak derailment, the Thailand cave rescue, human trafficking, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cybersecurity and much more.

“Our goal was to provide health professionals with the opportunity to exchange ideas and concepts that will improve emergency public health preparedness in their communities,” said SETRAC Regional Director of Emergency Management Operations Lori Upton. “It is also important to establish open dialogue between local health departments and other agencies.”

This year, organizers presented the RHPC Award of Excellence to Memorial Hermann Hospital Texas Medical Center, CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin and

Keynote speaker, Dr. Isaac Ashkenazi, disaster management expert and former director of the Urban Terrorism Preparedness Project at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, discussed preparedness and response to urban mass casualty incidents at the 2018 RHPC Symposium.

CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Livingston for their commitment to emergency management in the healthcare community. In addition, Texas DSHS recognized SETRAC’s Special Populations Coordinator Hilal Salami with the 2018 Preparedness Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to healthcare system preparedness.

SETRAC and RHPC are committed to working with local partners to build strong disaster medical response capabilities that will be critical in future response and recovery efforts. The next RHPC Symposium will take place October 9-11, 2019.

*Please view and share the 2018 RHPC Symposium video, now on YouTube at

SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) The mission of the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council is to develop and sustain a powerful coalition of providers, responders, and other healthcare related partners united together to save lives and improve health outcomes through research, education and collaboration.

Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (RHPC) is the preparedness committee of SETRAC. RHPC provides collaborative planning and response to emergencies, and preserves the medical infrastructure of the region.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has a mission to improve the health and well-being of Texans. DSHS envisions a healthy Texas, ensuring strategic and operational goals that cover prevention and preparedness of the public from health threats.