About the Center for Disaster Healthcare Preparedness

The Office of the Center for Disaster Healthcare Preparedness


Since 2003, The Center for Disaster Healthcare Preparedness (CDHP), provides comprehensive disaster healthcare preparedness training for the State of Alabama.  CDHP serves the training needs of Alabama’s Healthcare response system including Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Federally Qualified Healthcare Agencies, Rural Health Centers, other healthcare agencies and Healthcare Coalition partners throughout the state.

CDHP is funded by the Alabama Department of Public Health, Center for Emergency Preparedness, through a cooperative agreement from the Department of Health and Human Resources, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness.

Training is provided at no charge to Alabama healthcare professionals, healthcare coalition partners, emergency management professionals, volunteers, and public officials, and it provides free Continuing Medical Education. Healthcare providers outside of Alabama may attend training if space is available and are responsible for any expense associated with attending.

About CDHP

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in 2002 Alabama received Federal funding to develop Bioterrorism Preparedness programs. CDHP, known then as the Office of Emerging Health Technologies (OEHT) was awarded a grant to conduct Bioterrorism Preparedness Table-Top Exercises in nearly 70% of the counties throughout the state.

Recognizing the vast emergency preparedness training needs of Alabama hospitals, OEHT expanded its mission to provide a centralized training center known as The Advanced Regional Response Center (ARRTC). ARRTC began by offering a comprehensive 3-day BASIC Course which included topics such as National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), National Response Framework (NRF), Chemical and Radiological Clinical Awareness, Principles of Decontamination and Personal Protective Equipment and Rapid Assessment and Disaster Triage Methods. 

In 2007, ARRTC launched a Road Show Course as an opportunity for Alabama healthcare providers and personnel to receive customized emergency preparedness training, based on the unique needs and educational preference of staff, onsite, at their facility.  Road Shows made attendance easier, convenient, and more than doubled the number of students per year.

The tornado outbreak of April 2011 resulted in 250 fatalities in Alabama. Findings from the state After Action Report highlighted the desire and need among clinical staff impacted by the tornadoes for training specific to disaster related injuries. As a result, in 2012, ARRTC expanded it course offerings to include a one day, clinical disaster Simulation Course and skills labs, customized to meet the training needs and scope of various disciplines.

To further prepare the field of healthcare preparedness, in 2014, ARRTC added a fourth course, Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professional (HEPP).  HEPP is a 12-month online course designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to prepare and manage a healthcare facility’s Emergency Preparedness Program (EMP).

In 2016, ARRTC became a stand along center within the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine, known as the Center Disaster Healthcare Preparedness (CDHP)

CDHP Staff Members

Jenni Guerry, Director Image

Jenni R. Guerry, Director- Center for Disaster Healthcare Preparedness.  Focus on Emergency Preparedness & Emergency Management with nearly twenty years of professional experience.  Career history with the Alabama Department of Public Health as a Senior Environmentalist serving on the Emergency Preparedness Team & Radiological Emergency Response Team. Successful progress improving preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts for all hazards impacting the region through the Emergency Management arena for the last decade.  Certified instructor, Advanced Public Information Officer, and Masters Level Emergency Manager.   


Elizabeth Williams, M.P.H.

Elizabeth Williams, M.P.H.

Associate Director, Preparedness Training, Center for Disaster Healthcare Preparedness. Emphasis on Public Health emergency support functions and regulatory compliance. Public Health Administrator for Community Outreach (Health Education, Safe Kids and Faith-Based Initiatives), Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, Tobacco Control and Prevention and the Alabama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, ALL Kids. Additional Public Health service includes Public Information Officer, H1N1 Coordinator, Medical Reserve Corps/ESAR-VHP/Volunteer Coordinator and Women’s Health Clinical Administrator.



Tammy Pastor, Coordinator