Global Disaster Assistance Committee

The UCSF Global Disaster Assistance Committee (GDAC) provides responsive, appropriate and respectful support when disasters strike that addresses both the acute crisis as well as longer-term needs of countries, including our own.

Although UCSF’s primary objective is the safety and well-being of its immediate community of faculty, staff and trainees, the University aims to fulfull its mission of advancing health worldwide by providing assistance in the event of national or international disasters when our help is needed. The Global Disaster Assistance Committee looks for ways to support our faculty, staff and trainees in providing disaster assistance that is responsive, respectful, and tailored to our unique expertise for the given situation.

The full committee is led by the GDAC Policy Group, which oversees activation of the committee and initial response to a disaster.

Contact the GDAC by emailing [email protected]

Criteria for Disaster Response

The GDAC Policy Group reviews all Level 5 (“very high threat”) warnings issued by iJET, a global intelligence firm that tracks natural disaster and health crises, and all disasters rated as “Grade 3” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The group also reviews relevant alerts and requests from governmental and non-governmental organizations and inquiries from members of the UCSF community.

Not all warnings reviewed by the GDAC Policy Group will warrant a response from the institution given the circumstances of the threat (e.g. not health related) or disaster (e.g. alignment of disaster area’s needs with UCSF’s capabilities).

How You Can Help

How can UCSF faculty, staff and students be prepared for the next disaster and assist those recovering from disasters? The GDAC has compiled some volunteer options at the University, local, state and federal levels. In particular, we encourage you to be personally prepared for disasters, which can strike at any time.

Learn more »

Types of Support from UCSF

When assessing a situation, the GDAC considers a broad range of potential responses to help those affected. This can include:

  • Advocacy
  • Fundraising
  • Education or training
  • Direct patient care
  • Organizing volunteer groups
  • Research
  • Consulting
  • Rapid needs assessment
  • Donating vacation time to UCSF personnel taking leaves to absence to volunteer
  • Backfilling volunteers' or responders' regular work

In 2014, UCSF formed the Ebola Task Force to respond to the health crisis in West Africa and enlisted many of the tactics above. Learn more about that response effort »

Committee Membership

The GDAC Policy Group includes:

  • Theresa O’Brien, Associate Chancellor, Chancellor’s Office
  • George Rutherford, Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Bruce Flynn, Director, Risk Management and Insurance Services

The full committee includes:

  • Theresa O’Brien, Associate Chancellor, Chancellor’s Office (co-chair)
  • George Rutherford, Vice Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (co-chair)
  • Kim Baltzell, Director, School of Nursing Center for Global Health
  • Robert Baron, Associate Dean, Graduate and Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine
  • Sheila Brear, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Dentistry
  • Kathryn Chan, Sr. Labor and Employee Relations Consultant, Human Resources
  • Richard Coughlin, Professor, School of Medicine
  • Adrienne Green, Chief Medical Officer, UCSF Medical Center
  • Michael Faber, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Development
  • Bruce Flynn, Director, Risk Management and Insurance Services
  • Michelle Heckle, Director, Homeland Security & Emergency Management, UCSF Police
  • Robert Kosnik, Director, Occupational Health Services
  • Laura Kurtzman, Senior Public Information Representative, University Relations
  • Phuoc Le, Associate Professor, School of Medicine
  • Catherine Lucey, Vice Dean for Education, School of Medicine
  • Cynthia Lynch Leathers, Assistant Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
  • Andrea Tenner, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
  • Theodore Ruel, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
  • Justine Belden, Executive Analyst, Chancellor's Office