ISPRM Symposium on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief

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At the ISPRM World Conference in Puerto Rico 2011, Monday June 13, 13.30-17.30 h

Natural Disasters result in a sudden onslaught of huge numbers of catastrophic and disabling impairments including spinal cord injuries (SCI), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), limb amputations, long bone fractures and peripheral nerve injuries.

Nonetheless, traditional health system response to disasters neglects rehabilitation as one major health strategy. In addition, in those regions within which disasters have the strongest effects on morbidity and people’s functioning, health system capacity and rehabilitation services are usually underdeveloped. The neglect of rehabilitation in the acute and mid-term phase after disasters leads to even further limiting effects on health system capacity due to extended length of stay and bound resources in existing health care settings. Moreover, international rehabilitation disaster relief efforts are difficult to organize because of a lack of exchange between international organizations of the rehabilitation professions, resource constraints, difficulties in the assessments of needs of newly disabled persons as well as persons with existing disabilities within the disaster affected regions, and eventually problems in the coordination of available resources.

 The International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) has thus founded a Sub-Committee dedicated to Rehabilitation Disaster Relief (RDRC). 

Under the umbrella of ISPRM’s RDRC, a first Symposium on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief will be held on Monday, June 13, 1.30 to 5.30 pm during the ISPRM World Conference in Puerto Rico 2011. The Symposium aims at improving our knowledge base on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief. Papers are welcome on the:


·        Epidemiology of disability in natural disaster (including vulnerability of persons with pre-existing disabilities)

·        Assessment methods of needs and problems of persons with disabilities in natural disaster

·        Training of rehabilitation responders to disaster

·        Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions after natural disaster

·        Current challenges in rehabilitation service provision and intervention strategies in disaster victims with disabilities

·        Policies to raise awareness about medical rehabilitation as major health strategy after natural disaster in the acute as well as post-acute relief phase


Abstracts for the presentation of papers can be submitted online at:


International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
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