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When Twitter Turns against the Hospital: Managing Security Events through HICS 

Presented by:

Mary Devine, MPH, Senior Director of Emergency Management, Boston Children’s Hospital


During the summer of 2022, there was a targeted campaign through social media against Boston Children’s Hospital due to care provided at the hospital.  Throughout the next year, there was an onslaught of harassing phone calls, emails, protests and bomb threats called into the hospital.  This presentation explores how the Hospital Incident Command System managed these events throughout the year. The presentation describes strategies that the hospital used in response to the harassing emails, phone calls and bomb threats.  The presentation shares best practices while planning for hospital operations to be maintained during planned protests. Additionally, the presentation would discuss training changes that have occurred based out of these responses.


Mary Devine, MPH is the Senior Director of Emergency Management for Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). Within her role, she plans, administers, coordinates, and evaluates all activities of the Emergency Management Program. Within this position, she develops measurable performance indicators to evaluate the hospital emergency response plans and mitigation strategies. During hospital emergencies, Mary acts as Planning Section Chief within the Hospital Incident Command System. At BCH alone, she has responded to over 200 hospital emergencies in the categories; technology, infrastructure, security, hospital surge, infectious disease and other safety events. Regionally, Mary liaises with community agencies to develop multi-disciplinary emergency management responses on the local, regional and national levels.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was an active member of the COVID-19 leadership team designing and implementing the hospital Command Center response.  S Prior to working at BCH, Mary worked as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals. As the Emergency Management Coordinator, she coordinated between the 12 Boston Teaching Hospitals and response agencies such as fire, police, ems and the Department of Public Health. In that role, she acted as the Healthcare Systems Branch Director for the Medical Intelligence Center during the Boston Marathon Bombing acting as the liaison between the Boston Hospitals and response agencies.  Other professional experience includes working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Mary has a BA from Saint Louis University and an MPH from Tulane University. She started her career in wildland firefighting.

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