Great strides are underway in inclusive emergency management planning in Hampton Roads and important awards were recently given out to 2 well-deserving women who serve our community.
On May 21, the Hampton Roads All Hazards Advisory Committee (AHAC) presented Cheryl Simpson, Operations Manager of the Endependence Center, a Resolution of Appreciation for her dedicated service to and strong advocacy for populations with disabilities and access /functional needs in emergency management planning for over 11 of the 20 years she has spent in disability advocacy. During her tenure as a member of the Inclusive Emergency Management Subcommittee of AHAC and other regional and state level committees and work groups, Ms. Simpson has shown consistent and committed leadership and continues to work tirelessly to include the “whole community” in all levels of emergency management planning. Highlights of her work have been providing expertise during many full-scale and tabletop shelter exercises, providing Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) Checklist Assessments and guidance for local shelter sites and working with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) on mass care sheltering with an all-inclusive approach. Ms. Simpson also sits on the National Council for Independent Living Committee for Emergency Preparedness. Congratulations, Cheryl!
In addition, AHAC also recognizes and applauds the work of Michelle Cowling, Long Term Care Coordinator for the Eastern Virginia Healthcare Coalition (EVHC). The Hampton Roads Peninsula Emergency Medical Services (PEMS) Council awarded Ms. Cowling the 2018 Regional Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response. In her less than one year of employment for EVHC, Michelle Cowling has made great advances in bridging significant gaps in planning for long term care (LTC) and intermediate care facilities (ICF). Due to her hard work and the flourishing connections and relationships she has developed through the 37 years of distinguished service, at the local, regional and state levels, Ms. Cowling has provided her expertise in over a dozen important exercises for these facilities and made contact with 100% of the facilities in the 26 localities of the EVHC region. She has assisted with their emergency operation plans, mentored them through the process of meeting the strenuous Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) emergency preparedness requirements, and cultivated important planning links with these facilities and their corresponding locality emergency managers, public health agencies and other emergency management partners. All emergency management stakeholders are grateful for her hard work, dedication and astute accomplishments in this critical area of emergency management planning for our region. Congratulations, Michelle!