Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Scientist Professional Advisory Committee

Hurricane Maria Response, 2017 

By CDR Wei Guo

Program Management Officer
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of New Drugs, Office of Hematology and Oncology Products
U.S. Food and Drug Administration


What was the mission of this deployment?

I worked on the Information Management Team in the Secretary’s Operation Center (SOC) in response to Hurricane Maria.


What was your role during this deployment?

I led the effort to collect information from various federal agencies and NGOs in the field as well as from their headquarters. I then assembled and prepared reports for the relevant groups in SOC and senior leaders of HHS to review.


Was this your first deployment?

This was not my first deployment.


What was the most important thing you learned during this deployment?

Communication, communication, communication. Emergency response is a collaborative effort, but when working in a room with 40+ people of different tasks and priorities, it is very easy for responders to slip into silos and only focus on their own things.  So, communicate, talk to peers, ask for help, and offer to help others; we all have a common goal.


What did you enjoy the most about this deployment?

Completing a report with correct information, contributing to an effort, and getting recognized by the response community.


What were some of the challenges that you experienced during this deployment?

Information management is a huge task and will be more and more critical in the future, but the infrastructure we have in SOC is challenged to say the least. We need to rethink the model of information flow in SOC and make necessary architectural, hardware and software updates.




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