Advocating for mobile pediatric hospitals

Pictured from left to right: Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Barbara and Jack Nicklaus; Dr. M. Narendra Kini; Dr. Robert Kadlec

It’s not every day that an iconic athlete joins FIU on Capitol Hill to advocate for pediatric health. Retired golfer Jack Nicklaus, nicknamed the Golden Bear, and his wife, Barbara, flew to Washington, D.C. last week to educate federal officials on the unique collaboration taking place between FIU and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Staff from FIU’s Academy for International Disaster Planning and the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work have been working with Nicklaus and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to raise awareness of the need for mobile pediatric hospitals to be used after disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes or even chemical attacks.

Although mobile hospitals currently exist, there is yet to be any specifically designed with kids in mind.

“It was an honor to educate stakeholders on the unique needs of our children post-storms not only with our hospital partner, but a living legend— who has scored as much off the course as on, with his philanthropic generosity,” said Ruben Almaguer, assistant vice president of Disaster Management and Planning.

Nicklaus was joined by Nicklaus Children’s CEO Dr. M. Narendra Kini and Director of Governmental Affairs Lani Ferro – as well as  Almaguer and FIU Vice President of Government Relations Michelle Palacio. In addition to visits on the Hill, the team met with Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Alex Azar and Mick Mulvaney, director of Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

At every stop along the way, fans stopped to ask Nicklaus for autographs; he took the opportunity to inform more folks on the challenges facing kids after disasters.

Nicklaus with Florida Congressman Brian Mast

Nicklaus named the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, formerly the Miami Children’s Hospital on the hospital’s 65th anniversary in 2105 with a transformational gift. FIU’s Dance Marathon, which is dedicated to benefiting its local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (CMNH), has raised more $1 million in support of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital since 1997.

Disaster management course to be offered at FIU in D.C.

Prepare yourself with the fundamentals of emergency preparedness, disaster management and humanitarian assistance. A new one-year Master of Arts in Disaster Management degree is being offered at FIU in D.C. this Fall semester. Learn more about the program here.


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