Eight Months Later: Hurricane Katrina Aftermath Challenges Facing the Infectious Diseases Section of the Louisiana State University Health Science Center

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Abstract

The effects of Hurricane Katrina have caused the long-term sequelae of a diminished patient base, of a reduced number of available health care professionals, and of closing hospitals in New Orleans, Louisiana. These changes have substantially impacted the academic infrastructure of New Orleans. This article outlines the post-Katrina response of the Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) Infectious Diseases Section and Health Care Services Division to maintain existing HIV and infectious diseases programs. Although several challenges delayed the immediate reopening of the New Orleans location of the HIV Outpatient Program clinic, the LSUHSC Infectious Diseases Section and Health Care Services Division established clinics outside New Orleans for the care of HOP patients immediately following the hurricane. The HOP clinic reopened in New Orleans (in a temporary location) in early November 2005. Several recommendations for academic clinical, training, and research programs are outlined, to assist other centers that might face disaster aftermath challenges.

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