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Japan's Tsunami Anniversary, A Year Since Disaster Struck

Atlanta (March 11, 2012) — Dr. Lee, a professor in School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, spoke to CTV News Channel on Sunday, March 11 2012, the one-year anniversary of a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people.

Lee’s work focuses on emergency response to all hazards, including biological, nuclear, radiological and chemical incidents. She has worked in this area for more than 9 years, and has spent much of that time focusing on mass casualty mitigation, which involves rapid deployment of medical supplies and medical services, and rapid distribution of food, clean water, etc to affected populations.

Professor Eva Lee
Professor Eva Lee developed RealOpt, the next generation real-time informatics-analytic system to aid pandemic and biowarfare public health mass dispensing and emergency planning. The system includes a effective radiological response module that facilities radiological screening and decontamination operations.

Particularly pertinent to Japan is her work related to radiological response and population screening and decontamination.

On the ground in Japan, Lee is the first US scientist to have interviewed citizens living within 15 miles of the Fukushima nuclear plants. She collected critical data regarding timelines for evacuation, screening, health status, radiological awareness and sociological information of this local population, including family members of workers at the nuclear plant. The data also includes subsequent psychological and medical impacts on this population.

Asked about her experience with the local citizens, she said citizens were very enthusiastic in sharing with her their medical conditions and other things about their current lives.  “It is heartbreaking talking to them,“ Lee said.  “But they really try to maintain their spirit in life, even though they lost everything. “

Dr. Suzuki, Dean of Information Science and Engineering of NanZan University, accompanied Dr. Lee for the interview.  “I was very, very impressed by the attitude of Ms Hangaya and the refugees in the temporary housing. I would like to help them.” Said Dr. Suzuki.

Screening of citizens in Fukushima, Japan, 2011.

Lee is helping to design radiological emergency response guidelines for citizens, and efficient and long term health screening and population tracking. Although Japan has over 50 nuclear plants, very little has been done in emergency response preparedness for citizens. Lee is collaborating with local Japanese scientists to assist them with preparing and planning for future emergency response to radiological incidents, especially in the areas of citizen response guidelines, and in establishing shelters for rapid screening and decontamination, and large-scale population tracking.

Lee’s work is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.



Dr. Lee's CTV news interview

2012  Japan & New Zealand NSF-RAPID Workshop

Dr. Ken Elwood, Dr. Ron Eguchi and Dr. Eva Lee co-chair the 2012 Japan & New Zealand NSF RAPID Workshop

For more information contact:
Dr. Eva K Lee, Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Dr. Eva K Lee

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Last updated Mar 2012