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As EMS planners and providers, we take many special populations’ needs into account in a disaster - infants, elderly, disabled, and so on - but we should not overlook the critical distinctions in gender-specific care, which are based not only on a woman’s physiological makeup, but within her psychosocial framework. This training session will identify key factors in female-specific care, including 12 risk factors that affect vulnerability, impact, and exposure; PTSD and pain; triage and advocacy; and supplies and services.

Current research points to a pattern of gender differentiation in all areas of the disaster process -preparedness, response, impact, risk perception and exposure, recovery, and reconstruction. This session will highlight 19 simple interventions that can significantly reduce pain, suffering, and costs, including: a pregnancy registry for daily prenatal nutritional advocacy check-ups; rape intake personnel and kits; the availability of “fact sheets” concerning potential effects of vaccines, environmental toxins on pregnancies and outcomes, as well as information and treatments for vaginal infections, genital rashes due to environmental contamination, toxic shock syndrome, etc. Oftentimes it is these early (simple) proactive patient interventions, supplies and treatments that are diverted or disregarded that can prove much more acute (critical) and costly in their latter (and more advanced) stages.

The research’s results support the contention that many gender-sensitive services and supplies were needed in post-disaster care settings, but were inadequate or non-existent, and that EMS planners and providers to take a more cognizant and proactive approach to gender-specific care in preparedness, aid and advocacy.