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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Region VII Regional Disaster Health Response Ecosystem (RDHRE)

Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement Awardee

The Region VII Regional Disaster Health Response Ecosystem (RDHRE) is a demonstration project led by Nebraska Medicine, an 809-bed health system serving the Omaha metropolitan area, and supported by collaborators across Nebraska and Western Iowa.

Nebraska Medicine and its research and education partner University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) are recognized as world leaders in preparedness for biological threats, as the home of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit and a founding member of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC). Nebraska Medicine (NM) is one of only two Level I ACS trauma centers in the state and fills a key role in the Omaha Metropolitan Healthcare Coalition and Region VII disaster preparedness enterprise, making it a regional centerpiece for health system preparedness and response for all hazards.

Partnership Priorities and Approach

The Region VII RDHRE project is a concerted effort to address recognized gaps in our national health system’s readiness. Despite significant progress in hospital and public health preparedness, healthcare systems remain vulnerable to large-scale public health emergencies and disasters.

To move toward a more robust and resilient system, Region VII RDHRE seeks to transform current public-private interdependencies into public-private partnerships in preparedness and response.

Region VII RDHRE will emphasize four themes in its approach:

  1. Self-organizing medical response;
  2. Tiered casualty management;
  3. Health system capacity expansion; and
  4. Specialty care penetrance.

It will pursue fulfillment of these themes through the creation of five complementary enablers:

  1. Private sector and community organization actions;
  2. Economic incentives;
  3. Local and regional adaptive planning;
  4. Education and training; and
  5. Information sharing.

Region VII RDHRE will use these enablers and themes to create a facile, scalable, and sustainable regional system for health system response.

Some examples of how these components could work together include:

  • Local education and training initiatives in schools/businesses/communities to enhance first aid rapid response in developing tiered casualty management;
  • Development of specialized rapid response teams to deliver specialty care in remote locations in public health emergency settings; or
  • Collaboration with insurance regulators and businesses to develop individual, corporate, and community incentives for improved disaster care preparedness.

Enhancing Coordination

UNMC/NM will leverage established relationships formed through a long history of outreach education in rural health/disaster preparedness, infection prevention and control training, and highly-dangerous pathogen care to enhance existing capabilities. Nebraska has a robust system of 6 regional health care coalitions covering the entire state and major tertiary care referral centers in the Omaha/Lincoln metro corridor that will serve as the foundation for the Region VII RDHRE.

Region VII RDHRE’s goal is to innovate to reduce dependence on specific Federal funding lines, increase coordination of preparedness efforts, expand overall capacity for health system surge, and tap into underutilized community resources that would augment health system preparedness and response. Region VII RDHRE envisions a regional network that more resembles a natural ecosystem: self-organizing, self-actuating, flexible, resilient, and sustainable.

In the course of this one-year demonstration, Region VII RDHRE will coordinate government, private sector, and community organizations to assess gaps and align plans. Region VII RDHRE will work across the community level to create self-organizing medical response capabilities, vertically integrate traditional and non-traditional healthcare delivery for tiered systems of care, increase penetrance of specialty care services, and facilitate community-based solutions for growth and sustainability.

Additional Resources

For more information regarding Region VII RDHRE, please visit its website at  

  • This page last reviewed: September 17, 2021