This photograph depicts epidemiologist, Dr. Venecia Ramírez, in Health Area IV of the Dominican Republic, as she was in the process of assessing the needs of sheltered Dominican residents in August, 2012, during response activities following Tropical Storm Isaac.
During natural disasters, including hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and fires, the health and welfare of the populous, both before, during, and after such events, is of the utmost concern for public health officials. Due to these events, the basic necessities of life can often be disrupted, leading to public health emergencies. With a lack of fresh, potable water, an intact sewerage system, and power outages, diseases normally kept at bay, can wreak havoc upon what was once a healthy community. Public health first responders, like Dr. Ramírez, work diligently to stay one step ahead of these health threats, and are integral to the dissemination of crucial information, not only through the communities at risk, but to fellow public health responders as well.