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February 22: Interview with HSToday Mission Awardee Bridget Pelaez

Bridget Pelaez currently serves as the Assistant Director of Emergency Management at Florida International University and is the Deputy Commander for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Disaster Medical Systems Trauma Critical Care Team. She has developed a robust Stop The Bleed Program and has trained more than 10,000 faculty and staff for Stop the Bleed alongside FIU Police. She has devoted her life to improving healthcare preparedness and response in South Florida.

Pelaez leads by example and is the director of an all-volunteer critical care response team (FIU-FAST Team) capable of deploying field hospitals to disaster-stricken areas nationally and abroad. Bridget fosters community resilience by partnering and collaborating with a multitude of community partners and projects dedicated to health improvements in South Florida. This past year she developed an 8-hour disaster management training with graduate students and delivered this training to more than a thousand home healthcare workers who are now able to educate South Florida citizens about disaster management and response. She promotes diversity through her education and experience, including helping healthcare workers identify and communicate effectively with the LGBTQ community. As incident commander of a COVID-19 testing site, Pelaez has led testing of more than 10,000 residents. In May 2020, she worked with the global nonprofit Cadena Foundation to mentor children who are innovating disaster solutions around the world.

Pelaez is a clinician who thinks creatively to advance disaster response. Her goal is to continue to educate and empower other females to be resilient leaders.