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Emergency Preparedness for the Pediatric Behavioral Health Population: They're Just Kids, Too!

Julianne Ehlers, MA, CEM, MEP
Emergency Management Program Coordinator, Primary Children’s Hospital – Miller Campus
Rebekah Reynosa, MS, MEP, CHEC-III 
Emergency Management Coordinator at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital


This session addresses the critical need for enhancing pediatric behavioral health emergency preparedness within in-patient settings. The unique vulnerabilities of pediatric patients with behavioral health conditions during emergencies demand specialized considerations and strategies to ensure their safety, well-being, and optimal care. The session will focus on the integration of behavioral health components into emergency preparedness plans, training, and exercises, thereby fostering a comprehensive and effective approach to managing these complex scenarios.  In an era where pediatric behavioral health is gaining increased recognition, this session serves as a pivotal step towards safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable pediatric patients during emergencies. By amalgamating insights specific to behavioral health and emergency preparedness, this session underscores the imperative of a unified approach for optimal patient outcomes. 


Julianne Ehlers is the Emergency Management Program Coordinator for Primary Children's Hospital-Miller Campus and Wasatch Canyons Behavioral Health Campus where she supports disaster mitigation, planning, training, and response.  

As an experienced healthcare emergency manager, she has been involved in local, regional, and national emergency management efforts in planning, training/exercises, response, and mitigation for cross-jurisdictional healthcare partners. She was the Program Director for the National EMS Information System, sponsored by NHTSA, leading the program in strategic operations, and facilitating the collection and utilization of national EMS data. Julianne has also served as lead instructor for several healthcare disaster courses at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness.  

She holds a master’s degree in emergency management/Homeland Security from Arizona State University, a bachelor’s degree in emergency services administration, and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) from the International Association of Emergency Managers. 

Rebekah is currently the Emergency Management Coordinator at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH) in Salt Lake City, UT. She attended Pennsylvania State University, majoring in both Biology and Earth Sciences. She went on to receive a Master of Science in Disaster Medicine and Management from Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University). Additionally, she was a certified EMT-B for over 9 years. 

After obtaining her master’s degree, Rebekah worked for a private consulting firm in Pennsylvania, where she was involved in the development and implementation of large county and state public health preparedness projects and healthcare coalition building in PA, DE, WV, MD, and NJ. She is experienced in county and state-level plan development, as well as multi-jurisdictional training and exercise planning and implementation. 

In her current role, Rebekah works on all aspects of the hospital’s emergency preparedness program, including but not limited to regulatory compliance, preparedness planning, mitigation projects, training and exercise development and implementation, resource management, decontamination operations, and highly infectious disease response. Additionally, the Emergency Preparedness team at PCH has a special pediatric emergency management outreach grant, where they provide pediatric skills and preparedness educational and training to tribal clinics, rural partners, and medical volunteers. PCH is also a hub-site for the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN), where they work on national pediatric preparedness efforts. 


Rebekah has spoken at numerous national conferences on family assistance, parent/child reunification, and pediatric emergency management. She holds certifications as a Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP), and Certified Healthcare Emergency Coordinator III (CHEC-III). Currently, Rebekah is the chair of her hospital’s local healthcare coalition and was a member of the Education Committee for the Association of Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professionals (AHEPP) for four years. 

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