Twenty-six members of the New Mexico Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) were deployed to Houston to provide medical assistance in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison.

They include: Elizabeth Aragon, Joyce Atencio, Keri Brinegar, Frank Buethe, Jeff Danska, John Gaffney, Francisco Garcia, Brian Hernandez, Peggy Hesch, Laura Kay, M.D., Apryl Keaty, Ben Kesner, Julian Martinez, and Kris Munoz.

Also deployed were: Richard Navitsky, M.D., Byron Piatt, Larry Richardson, Donald Scott, Lewis Suber, Jr., Michael Thull, Timothy Tsoodle, Albert Vogel, M.D., Randall Wahlert, Patrick Welch, Gina Wilson-Ramirez, M.D., and Scott Yarber.

At the request of the Houston mayor's office, DMAT set up an urgent care center adjacent to the Astrodome. With many of Houston's hospitals closed by flooding, DMAT helped to provide medical care until the city's healthcare systems could return to normal. In conjunction with DMAT's operation, the U.S. Air Force established a facility, giving the Astrodome location the full capabilities of a small hospital. This is the first time such a cooperative effort has been attempted.

The New Mexico DMAT is based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and is sponsored by the UNM School of Medicine's Emergency Medicine Department. DMAT is made up of volunteer nurses, physicians, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, pharmacists, and logistics and communications specialists from around the state who train to give urgent medical care at the scene of medical disasters.

"The New Mexico DMAT team is regarded nationwide as the best prepared volunteer Disaster Medical Assistance Team," said Gaffney. "It is our volunteer team members and their employers that allow us to be so responsive."

The team has been deployed to provide care to victims of hurricanes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, and Hawaii, as well as earthquake victims in Los Angeles. The New Mexico DMAT also assisted in relief efforts in the aftermath of the Atlanta Olympics bombing and Cerro Grande Fire.
Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322