• English

    Google Translate Disclaimer

    The Maryland Department of Information Technology (“DoIT”) offers translations of the content through Google Translate. Because Google Translate is an external website, DoIT does not control the quality or accuracy of translated content. All DoIT content is filtered through Google Translate which may result in unexpected and unpredictable degradation of portions of text, images and the general appearance on translated pages. Google Translate may maintain unique privacy and use policies. These policies are not controlled by DoIT and are not associated with DoIT’s privacy and use policies. After selecting a translation option, users will be notified that they are leaving DoIT’s website. Users should consult the original English content on DoIT’s website if there are any questions about the translated content.

    DoIT uses Google Translate to provide language translations of its content. Google Translate is a free, automated service that relies on data and technology to provide its translations. The Google Translate feature is provided for informational purposes only. Translations cannot be guaranteed as exact or without the inclusion of incorrect or inappropriate language. Google Translate is a third-party service and site users will be leaving DoIT to utilize translated content. As such, DoIT does not guarantee and does not accept responsibility for, the accuracy, reliability, or performance of this service nor the limitations provided by this service, such as the inability to translate specific files like PDFs and graphics (e.g. .jpgs, .gifs, etc.).

    DoIT provides Google Translate as an online tool for its users, but DoIT does not directly endorse the website or imply that it is the only solution available to users. All site visitors may choose to use alternate tools for their translation needs. Any individuals or parties that use DoIT content in translated form, whether by Google Translate or by any other translation services, do so at their own risk. DoIT is not liable for any loss or damages arising out of, or issues related to, the use of or reliance on translated content. DoIT assumes no liability for any site visitor’s activities in connection with use of the Google Translate functionality or content.

    The Google Translate service is a means by which DoIT offers translations of content and is meant solely for the convenience of non-English speaking users of the website. The translated content is provided directly and dynamically by Google; DoIT has no direct control over the translated content as it appears using this tool. Therefore, in all contexts, the English content, as directly provided by DoIT is to be held authoritative.

    Preparedness Conference Speakers

    Expand the sections below to learn more about each of our Conference speakers.

    Sarah Baker



    Sarah Baker is the Programs Director of Healthcare Ready. In this role she oversees the organization’s preparedness and resilience programming, as well as policy research and analysis efforts. She additionally supports the organization’s disaster activations, most recently serving as the deputy incident commander during the organization’s response to the historic 2017 hurricane season. 

    Prior to joining Healthcare Ready, Baker provided contract support to Department of Homeland Security components including FEMA’s National Preparedness Assessment Division and National Exercise Division. In this capacity she provided analytical support to reports including the National Preparedness Report and Hurricane Sandy After-action Report. She additionally developed expertise in the development of preparedness training and exercises, supporting planning, conduct, and evaluation of National Level Exercises and dozens of private sector exercises.

    Baker holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

    Caecilia Blondiaux



    Caecilia (Cece) Blondiaux serves the Special Assistant of the Quality, Safety & Oversight Group. In this role, she is the lead for coordination of policy development, communications, and regulations in support of the Director, Deputy Director and the Division of Nursing Homes, Division of Continuing Care Providers, Division of Acute Care Services, Division of Clinical Laboratory Improvement & Quality, and the Quality, Safety & Education Division. Blondiaux also serves as the lead for Emergency Preparedness, with the implementation of the Emergency Preparedness Rule, including the development of the interpretive guidelines, surveyor training and working with stakeholders to address concerns in the provider/supplier community. Additionally, she is the lead for internal emergency preparedness for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) and manages the COOP process, Regional and Central Office collaboration, and emergency crises such as the Ebola, Zika Virus, influenza and others. 

    Prior to joining CMS, Blondiaux worked three years at HRSA within the HIV/AIDS Program supporting the Director and Senior Policy Advisor for the international Global PEPFAR Program; Special Programs of National Significance and the Education and Training branch. Her background is in Emergency Management and Homeland Security through direct work with the United States Army. She has multiple deployments; worked with the Wounded Warriors as part of the Triad for Care for returning combat veterans; and spent four years working for the Joint Chief of Staff J2 and Defense Intelligence Agency as a Staff Sergeant.

    Dr. Gregory Branch



    Dr. Gregory Branch is the Director of Health and Human Services for Baltimore County. As a native of New York City, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He completed his training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the William Osler Internal Medicine Residency Program. Additionally, Branch earned the Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Baltimore Merrick School Of Business. Branch has practiced medicine for over 25 years and is nationally recognized as a Certified Physician Executive. He is currently on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Public Health.


    Alex Cardella



    Alex Cardella currently serves as the fire/EMS, emergency management, and public health intelligence analyst for the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center. His primary role is to ensure that Maryland’s public safety, health care, and public health professionals understand the current terrorist and criminal threat environment in our state and surrounding jurisdictions. He is an advocate for the sharing of information across public safety disciplines to better inform preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. Prior to entering the intelligence field, Cardella worked as the public health emergency preparedness coordinator for the city of West Haven, Conn. during Superstorm Sandy and several other significant weather events. He also served as a hazardous materials technician as part of a regional HAZMAT response team in Milford, Conn. and currently serves as a volunteer firefighter in Calvert County, Md. Cardella holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science Administration from the University of New Haven.​

    Craig DeAtley


    ​Craig DeAtley, PA-C, is the Director of the Institute for Public Health Emergency Readiness at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Emergency Manager for the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Co-Director of Emergency Management for MedStar Health. As part of his MWHC role, he serves as the Administrator for the DC Emergency Healthcare Coalition a planning and response organization that consists of all DC health care community organizations. Since 2006, he has served as the Co-Executive Director of the Center for HICS Education and Training housed at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The Center members are the individuals responsible for writing the 2006 and 2014 Hospital Incident Command Center materials. 

    Prior to his current positions he served as Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, specializing in Disaster Medicine and Field Operations for 28 years. Since 1991, he has served as the Assistant Medical Director for the Fairfax County Police Department. He previously served as the Assistant Medical Director of the United States Customs Service and a Medical Specialist with the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team DC. He is a part-time affiliate attending physician assistant at the Fairfax Hospital Emergency Department in Northern Virginia. He served as the Hazardous Materials/Toxic Substances/WMD Task Force Leader for Project ER One, a project for the U.S. Public Health Service/Office of Emergency Preparedness and was a founding member of NMRS-DC-1, the nation’s first U.S. Public Health Service trained and equipped civilian NBC response team. For the past three years he has served as a consultant to HHS-ASPR working on developing and teaching their Healthcare Coalition Leadership course and helping to develop their intranet-based information sharing system known as TRACIE.​

    Chas Eby



    Chas Eby is the Director of Risk Reduction and Strategy at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, where he leads the Directorate that includes the Recovery and Risk Analysis, Hazard Mitigation, Communications and Outreach, and National Capital Region Program branches and the Strategy Unit at MEMA. Previously, Eby was the External Outreach Branch Manager, where he oversaw programs that included disaster recovery, public information and outreach, individual assistance, and community and private-sector preparedness. Prior to joining MEMA, Eby was the Chief Planner for Emergency Preparedness at the Maryland Department of Health Office of Preparedness and Response and served as the State Pandemic Influenza Coordinator during the 2009-10 H1N1 influenza response.

    Eby received a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously graduated from Boston College. He is an Adjunct Professor teaching both Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness and Homeland Security Planning and Policy at Towson University and has completed a fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security.​

    Stevanne Ellis



    Stevanne Ellis has been a long-term care ombudsman for over 13 years, with over eight years as a local ombudsman in Anne Arundel County, two years as the State Ombudsman Specialist, and over two and half years as the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. In addition, she has worked in case management and social work departments in nursing homes, brain injury rehabilitation, and hospitals. 

    Ellis earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UMBC in Social Work and a Master’s Degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis.​

    Gregory Ford



    Gregory Ford currently holds the position of Public Health Emergency Planner for St. Mary’s County Health Department. He has previously worked on Federal contracts as a medical countermeasures/mass casualty subject matter expert. Ford maintains a part-time position with Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center as a trauma/ED nurse. He received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Shepherd University and his Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University.​

    Dr. David Fowler



    Dr. David Fowler is a board-certified anatomic and forensic pathologist practicing as Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland.  He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1983 and did a year of general medical and surgical internship, followed by a year of pediatric pathology at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town. He then started and completed a five-year full-time training program in forensic pathology at the University of Cape Town earning his master of medicine in forensic pathology.Following this, he did additional training in the United States at the University of Maryland and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland. Dr. Fowler is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland in the departments of pediatrics and pathology, faculty at the National Study Center for Trauma and EMS and is a visiting professor at both Tongji Medical School and Fudan University in the People's Republic of China. Dr. Fowler is active on multiple committees in the National Association of Medical Examiners and is a past president of that organization. He has numerous book chapters, scientific journal articles, and formal presentations to his credit.

    Jennifer Hannah



    Jennifer Hannah serves as a Supervisory Public Health Advisor in the Hospital Preparedness Program Branch in the Office of Emergency Management and Medical Operations (OEMMO), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Hospital Preparedness Program Branch is responsible for developing and advancing the implementation of policies and capabilities that aim to improve the nation’s overall health care system preparedness, including the Hospital Preparedness Program cooperative agreement, the Hospital Preparedness Program Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities cooperative agreements, the National Ebola Training and Education Center cooperative agreement, and Partnership for Disaster Health Response cooperative agreement. In addition, she is the lead for the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) and oversees the implementation of ESAR-VHP programs in states, territories, and municipalities.​

    Randy Linthicum



    Randy Linthicum, MS, NRP, is the Director of Emergency Operations at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). In this role, Linthicum directs the agency’s emergency preparedness and response activities as well as a State Critical incident Management Team. Prior to coming to MIEMSS, Linthicum was Chief of the Disaster and Client Services Bureau at the California Department of Social Services (agency responsible for Mass Care/Emergency Assistance in California). Other prior roles include management of the Response Personnel Unit at the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, and disaster medical/health coordination for one of California’s six mutual aid regions. Linthicum has also worked for over 30 years in field level emergency medical services as a paramedic in California and Maryland.​

    Sergeant Travis Nelson



    Sergeant Travis Nelson is currently assigned to the Special Operations Division of the Maryland State Police. He is detailed as a liaison officer to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Nelson serves as the co-chair for the Maryland Active Assailant Interdisciplinary Workgroup and works with the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical System Services (MIEMSS) to lead a statewide effort to provide guidance for all responders to hostile events. He is the chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Complex Coordinated Attack Working Group, chair of the Maryland Search and Rescue Coordination Workgroup, subject matter expert coordinator for the Maryland Complex Coordinated Attack Terrorist Attack Project and vice-chair of the Region III Advisory Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA.) Prior to, he was assigned to MEMA as a regional liaison officer, MSP Special Events Unit, MSP Human Resources Division and MSP Centreville Barrack. Nelson is the former Director of Career Services at the Kent & Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad in Chestertown, MD and was a certified medic, rescue diver and firefighter. He previously worked for Kent County 9-1-1, Queen Anne’s County 9-1-1 and Queen Anne’s County EMS. ​

    Stephanie Slowly



    Stephanie Slowly joined the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (MHHD) in July, 2016 and currently serves as the office’s Deputy Director. Prior to joining MHHD, Slowly served as the Deputy Chief of Programs and Training Capacity for the Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program with Maryland Department of Health. There, she enhanced the training capacity and awareness of this program to hundreds of case managers, program directors, and external stakeholders. Additionally, she aided in the strategic planning for the Maryland integrated HIV plan for the State of Maryland. As the Deputy Director, Slowly is committed to engagement, training, and enhancement of innovative approaches to address the health equity needs throughout the State of Maryland. Slowly believes that the work of health equity is one in which everyone has to be an active participant. As a social worker, Slowly spent 10 years in direct care service working in medical social work where she implemented programs, advised on policy, and advocated for the needs of the most underserved and vulnerable populations.

    Slowly received her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from The Norfolk State University and she went on to receive her Masters of Social Work from the Evelyn R. School of Social Work from Norfolk State University. She has gone on to become a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical trough the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners.

    Clay Stamp



    Clay Stamp is the Senior Emergency Management Advisor to Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, and Chair of the Governor’s Emergency Management Advisory Council. Stamp currently serves as Executive Director of the Opioid Operational Command Center, working with the emergency management system to effectively and efficiently coordinate statewide efforts in combating the heroin and opioid crisis in Maryland. Stamp is also the director of Talbot County Department of Emergency Services. Stamp has extensive experience working in disasters, including the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the civil unrest in Baltimore and previously served under Governor Robert Ehrlich, as Deputy Director of the Maryland EMS system and member of his senior homeland security group. Stamp came up through the ranks in Ocean City as a young paramedic firefighter, becoming the first Emergency Management Director and eventually the Director of Emergency Services where he shepherded the development of many cutting edge services. Stamp currently resides in Easton, Md, with his wife, Lisa.​

    Brice Strang



    Brice Strang is the Public Health Emergency Planner for Dorchester County, Md, a role in which he has served in since 2014. He is responsible for the coordination, development, and implementation of the public health and medical emergency preparedness and response program, to include radiological preparedness. In addition, he is a medical Company Commander in the U.S. Army Reserve, where he is the senior medical officer responsible for planning and executing individual and collective training towards full mission readiness in support of Army, joint, multinational, and humanitarian operations. From 2012-2017, he served in medical operations and planning positions as part of Task Force Medical, which is the medical command and control element for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise.​

    Lisa Swank



    Lisa Swank has been the Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Coordinator at the Harford County Health Department since 2006. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. After beginning her nursing career as a psychiatric nurse at Spring Grove Hospital Center, she became an employee at the Harford County Health Department in 1989 where she provided services to the community as a psychogeriatric nurse, home visiting nurse, and a family planning clinical supervisor. Swank has also recently expanded her role to include the grant management of several new HIV service programs within the health department.  ​

    Ruth Thompson


    ​Ruth Thompson, B.S., is the Deputy Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Outbreak Response Bureau at the Maryland Department of Health. This Bureau includes the Center for Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Outbreak Response, the Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, the Center for Zoonotic and Vectorborne Diseases, the Center for Global Migration and Immigrant Health, and the Emerging Infections Program.  Prior to joining the Department of Health in 2011, she worked at the Baltimore County Department of Health for 33 years, initially as a Public Health Investigator, and later serving as Chief of Communicable Diseases and finally  as  Director of the Prevention, Protection and Preparedness Bureau. 

    Rick Woods



    Rick Woods is currently working with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as the Fixed Nuclear Facility Radiological Planner. He is primarily responsible for overall program management of the MEMA REP program to include coordination of State planning efforts with local Offsite Response Organizations. 

    Prior to this position, Woods worked for 31 years with Exelon Corporation (previously Constellation Energy and Baltimore Gas & Electric) as a Senior Emergency Preparedness Analyst for the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (CCNPP) and the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station (PBAPS). His primary responsibilities included planning, training, and exercise development for the biennial federally evaluated exercises for both CCNPP and PBAPS. This included nearly 20 Plume Pathway exercises, four Ingestion Pathway exercises, and three Hostile Action Based drills. In addition to the FEMA exercises, Woods was also involved in planning, training, and exercises for Plant Primary Support and MS-1 medical drills for Calvert Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s MedStar Hospital, Dorchester General, Union Hospital, and Upper Chesapeake Hospital. While at CCNPP, Woods was also responsible for maintaining the public alert and warning siren system and the annual distribution of the public information brochures. 

    Prior to the Emergency Preparedness tenure, Woods spent seven years as a Principal Radiation Safety Technician involved in worker safety at CCNPP and five years as a contract Radiation Safety Technician at various Nuclear Power Plants on the east coast.

    Dr. Iván Zapata



    Dr. Iván A. Zapata joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2011 and currently serves as the Global Health Security Advisor for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office.  In this role, Zapata manages the department’s global and border health security portfolios.  

    During his tenure at CWMD, Zapata has also managed the DHS Medical Countermeasures Program (MCM), geared to ensure the DHS workforce has adequate guidance and medication in the event of a biological attack (i.e. Anthrax) or a natural occurring event (i.e. Influenza Pandemic) and has co-developed the Department’s Emergency Medical Services Austere Medicine protocols designed for DHS law enforcement officers operating in remote areas.

    Prior to joining DHS, Zapata worked for the Office of Preparedness and Response at the Maryland Department of Health. During that time, he served as the Health Systems Surge Program Lead and managed statewide public health preparedness planning and response activities for the Pandemic Influenza, Hospital Preparedness, and Local Public Health Preparedness programs.  

    Zapata received his doctorate in Public Health from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland; and his Master degree in Healthcare Management & Policy, an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Community Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Medical Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY.  Additionally, he has been a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) since 2007.