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About - Global Resilience System

Health Initiatives Foundation, Inc. (HIFI) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501C3 non-profit corporation.  HIFI was originally incorporated in Maryland in 1995 by Dr. Michael McDonald (HIFI’s current executive director), C. Everett Koop (former U.S. Surgeon General), Lt. General (ret.) Alexander Sloan (former Surgeon General of the Air Force), and Dave J. Taylor (former COO of the Howard Hughes Foundation).  HIFI is used as the 501C3 non-profit organization for charitable gifts and donations focused on health, human security, emergency management, and development projects in the United States and internationally.  HIFI runs the Race to Resilience public / private consortium and replicates the Resilience Systems in high severity disasters through the Race to Resilience public / private consortium. 

HIFI is the managing and fiscal agent for the Global Health Response and Resilience Alliance.  The Alliance is focused on reducing vulnerability and the building of resilience.  It specializes in the prevention and management of large-scale social crisis in many parts of the United States and around the world in which communities have been impacted by severity level 3, 4, and 5 crises.


What is the "Resilience System"? 


The Global Resilience System (GRS) is a rapidly growing global aggregation of nested Resilience Systems (e.g., US Resilience System, Haiti Resilience System, Vietnam Resilience System, Japan Resilience System and their nested subsystems).  These Resilience Systems are focused on protecting and improving the health, human security, resilience and sustainability of human populations and the viability of their ecosystems. The GRS is part of a global initiative with the primary goal of improving the health, well-being, and prosperity of all world citizens and their communities by fostering a resilient response to change that also protects the interests of biodiversity and human populations into the future.

Based upon an open data / open source platform that enables collaboration at all levels of societies, over great distances, the GRS utilizes a multi-sector approach enabling citizens, communities, NGOs, business and government to collaborate in identifying risks, preparing for unexpected events, reducing vulnerability, and responding to change events with a collective effort to improve circumstances. The GRS focus is on creative options to adapt to adversity (also called "adaptive capacity building"), information sharing environments, networking, and collective action. The GRS, and its nested sub-systems enable a flexible, hyper-local response to create and maintain prosperous economic and social systems embedded in healthy ecological systems, upon whose services we all depend for our health, wealth, and security.  


Why is the Global Resilience System Important? 

Complex Adaptive System   Twenty-first century societies are subject to massive and costly systems challenges and discontinuities in our food, water, housing, health care, security, energy, forests, soil, and other natural resources, as well as financial and economic systems. The Global Resilience System is designed as an arena for collaboration and integrative management and governance, enabling learning and flexibility in building adaptive capacity throughout all levels of society. Resilience Networks access local situational awareness and management of localized socio-ecological systems, while working hand in hand with all levels of government, the private sector, and the social sector based upon the community’s need for capacity building. Weaving local and national value chains in with an awareness that humans and nature are entwined. Both human-built environments and natural systems provide essential components for stimulating adaptation and appropriate development that enhances resilience. 

Enables Agile and Adaptable Response   We live in a world of constantly changing socio-ecological systems. Rather than attempting to deny or control change, the Global Resilience System applies a breakthrough in integrative management and governance systems.  “Focus, Agility, and Convergence (FAC)” teams (sometimes called "smart swarms" are used to supplement, and eventually replace, many hierarchical, control systems with more efficient complex adaptive systems, which are self-synchronizing to emerging conditions. These non-hierarchical, non-controlled systems operate with the qualities of distributed collective learning, evidence-based decision-making and agile response, similar to market economies and the internet, rather than 20th Century Soviet-style centralized economies or traditional American command and control systems. Although our nation has benefited significantly from non-hierarchical, non-controlled systems, (such as free markets and the internet) the advances in systems science have yet to be fully applied to health, security, energy, water, sanitation, and disaster management communities.  Resilience Systems are bridging this gap.

Reducing Vulnerability in an Epoch of Finite Global Resources 

Ecosystem services per capita are rapidly declining globally.  Localized Resilience Networks built upon the inherent resources, skill sets, and capacities in a community, to minimize the need for dependency aid from external resources, which often lead to the plundering of local resources. Currently, the predominant response and disaster management systems in most nations operate through costly hierarchical control systems, when these systems exist. The limitations of these hierarchical control systems to quickly, economically, and efficiently respond to the wide variety of localized needs, has been revealed by the complexity and extent of large-scale disasters such as the Indian Ocean Basin Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Haiti-like earthquakes, and the response during the Gulf Oil Spill. Despite the reality of budget constraints, after-action reports call for increased resources, and appeals to remember and honor our commitment to the people and future of an area. However, over and over, it is also revealed that disasters bring communities together like never before -- often with little pre-planning or disaster response understanding available. Through the Resilience System components, communities, neighborhoods, families, and individuals are able to collaborate and share information to identify and actively participate in risk reduction, disaster response, relief and resilient capacity building to meet the long-term problems in a region. 


Components of the Global Resilience System 

1) Resilience Networks (RN) 

Resilience Networks provide a collaboration platform and information sharing environment for all levels of hyper-local, local, and regional society, primarily through linking horizontal (local and community-based) organizations and the public. The RN Web 3.0 intelligent networking approach enables citizens, community-based organizations, NGOs, small business, and government to work in partnership toward more resilient response to the impact and process of change. Identification of resources and adaptive capacities of individuals, neighborhoods, communities and regions are recognized, and built upon. Resilience Networks enable healthy, more sustainable communities capable of responding to opportunity as well as adversity by actively preparing for change events, which might include economic, social, and environmental impacts.

This includes changes brought up by natural disaster events. In times of aggressive, sometimes unanticipated change, a resilient community will need to draw upon all resources that contribute to its' health and well-being. Resilience Networks enhance the social capital of communities through encouraging informed and active networks focused upon evidence-based communications, idea sharing, and access to a wide scope of resources before, during and after a crisis. These RN intelligent social networks embrace the dynamic aspects of socio-ecological interdependencies, while looking for innovative and appropriate solutions for a resilient response to challenges and change at the local (county/city) levels and hyper-local (community/neighborhood) levels. Resilience Networks dynamically enhance the level of community capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster through multiple pathways, including localized Resilience Networks actively engaging individuals and communities in risk / resilience assessment and asset mapping within Health/Resilience Capacity Zones.

Health/Resilience Capacity Zone assessments performed at the household and organizational level provide open data (within a common core dataset independent of personal identifiers) for building situational awareness of mission critical functions at the neighborhood, community, and broader societal levels in order to develop community resilience plans with an evidence-based understanding of the local and regional social ecology and ecosystem services. From the identified risks and assets within Health/Resilience Capacity Zones, individuals, neighborhoods, community groups, and whole communities are brought together in a unity of effort with business, and government through Resilience Systems to actively build upon the tools of local and regional area resilience.  

Within Resilience Networks, geo-spatial visualizations and visual analytics of local concerns are engaged in scenarios planning.  Inclusive planning processes are performed with customization and localization for direct application to regions and their communities.  Emerging mobile apps, intelligent social networking technology, as well as face-to-face community meetings, active work parties, and social events, are coordinated through Resilience Networks.  In communities that lack access to the internet through their homes and businesses, Resilience Networks provide Health/Resilience Capacity Zone collaborating centers with access to computers and the internet, as well as analog access to Mission Critical Function and Asset/Gap maps and community resource guides in paper form.

Within a Resilience Network, its integrative management and governance build and support resilience by nurturing and/or conserving the many elements which are necessary to adapt to new, unexpected and transformative situations.  Through this type of adaptation prosperous and responsive development can be created and maintained within the complexity of social and economic systems dependent upon the ecosystem services of local, regional, national and global socio-biotic systems.


2) FAC Teams 

Focus Agility and Convergence (FAC) Teams are rapidly-enabled teams comprised of pre-vetted individuals with expertise, who collectively act through Hastily Formed Networks to meet the immediate health, communications, infrastructure, ecosystem, and humanitarian needs of an area in crisis. Members of FAC Teams may already be working or living in the impacted area.  FAC team members collaborate and contribute from far or near through web 3.0 intelligent social networks. Typically they will respond quickly in alignment with, but before large organized metropolitan, state, or federal response organizations and large NGOS are able to organize themselves to effectively respond in the early stages of a disaster.  They identify and empower local smart swarms that have more persistence within communities.


3) Trust Networks 

Trust Networks are intelligent social networks of individuals and groups with deep local and hyper-local knowledge, conflict resolution skills, tools, methodologies, cross-cultural knowledge and other characteristics that make them uniquely prepared to identify the underlying precursors and emerging indicators of social crises, conflict and violence.  Trust Networks are used to anticipate and dissipate trends leading to conflict.



Adaptive Logistics And Distributed Intelligent Networks (ALADIN) are a new generation of environmentally-friendly, flexible logistics and distribution systems (like those associated with Occupy to Transform or STAR-TIDES, originating from advancements in the DoD) to address non-commercial demand for health- and life-sustaining products, shelters and services in distressed populations, generally in response to large-scale disasters (such as Superstorm Sandy). Where formal hierarchical supply chains bog down or fail to rapidly meet essential requirements, ALADINs can often provide life-critical and health-essential solutions. ALADINs, such as emerged in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in New York can be crucial to maintaining the basics of survival for impacted populations.  In some emergencies they serve the needs of hundreds of thousands of people in disaster areas with disrupted value chains and markets.  ALADINs are designed to function with agility, speed and financial transparency.


5) Resilience LTROs, Roundtables & Summits 

LTROs (Long Term Recovery Organizations) bring together stakeholders at the hyper-local level to examine problems, assets, and establish programs of value to neighborhoods and communities based upon community and local organization engagement.  Resilience Roundtables bring together key stakeholders from multiple LTROs and other organizations to plan and bring interested parties up to date with problems and opportunities that affect many communities in similar ways. Resilience Summits advance plans and policies from the LTROs and Roundtables with key representatives of hierarchical institutions that can respond with various resources to solve problems and improve opportunities across multiple jurisdictions.


6) MPHISE (Medical & Public Health Information Sharing Environment) 

A Medical and Public Health Information Sharing Environment (MPHISE) is often the first component of a Resilience System built up after an emergency or after a crisis.  MPHISE uses crowd-sourcing and intelligent social networks for building collaboration and sharing information environments on health issues within communities and between communities, NGOs, the private sector, and government for collaboration and sharing information on health issues within communities and between communities and government. MPHISE may be the initially developed aspect of a specific Resilience System or Resilience Network, because of the core values of health and human security that are essential in all areas.



Key Concepts 

Resilience Systems Approach - Resilience Systems identify and build upon the inherent resources and adaptive capacities of a community or region - rather than depending upon broad and sweeping, external interventions - to overcome challenges and problems.  The goal is to reduce dependency aid that increases vulnerabilities over time, by enhancing community locus of control, community capacity building, and local/hyper-local value chains that increase agile adaption to change and crisis.

Critical Infrastructure Resilience is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t enough to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from complex crisis or exponential change.  Concepts of Resilience that are built on simple command and control systems -- rather than complex systems -- all too often fail in preventing and managing large-scale social crises and in adaptation to rapid change.  Resilience Systems and Resilience Network have the capabilities to transform communities, when it is not possible to return to the pre-existing state, but to do so in a manner that honors community self-determination and its ability to evolve based upon its own culture.  Fundamental to the Resilience System and Resilience Networks is the understanding that socio-ecological systems – whether neighborhoods, villages, communities, or societies -- are interdependent and constantly changing. The socio-cultural units can often respond to gradual change smoothly. However, sometimes there are drastic and abrupt shifts that are expensive, or impossible, to reverse. For the most resilient response to crisis or catastrophic change, an impacted area benefits significantly from working with components established for response and relief prior to the change event. In other words, social systems and ecosystems impacted by disaster or rapid change must be able to cope, adapt or reorganize drawing systematically on the best knowledge, tools, and methods available for a resilient response.

Useful tools for building resilience in socio-ecological systems are: risk and threat indicators at the local level, health capacity zone assessments, and participation in structured scenarios planning sessions at multiple levels to envision possible alternative futures and solutions to challenges presented. The work of building and sustaining resilience, must involve its fundamental building blocks of any society: citizens, family and neighborhoods. Businesses, the social sector, and government are able to significantly improve the integrative management and governance through Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks that are fully engaging citizens at the most granular level, with flexible, innovative and open collaboration.  Crowd-sourcing and intelligent social networks within Resilience Networks are becoming essential tools for creating this type of unity of effort.

Elemental to social systems, governance and business within the Resilience Networks is the recognition that human society relies on ecosystem services. We must manage our environmental assets locally, regionally, nationally and globally, in order to support and maintain our options for sustainability and prosperity into the future.

Risks & Threats- Identified events or situations which have in the past, or may in the future, result in mortality or changes in health, and/or destruction to property, infrastructure and systems must be tracked and risks and threats mitigated. 

Vulnerabilities- The sensitivity and degree of exposure of an individual, family, neighborhood, community or region needs to be managed in highly vulnerable populations. Resilience Networks identify and measure vulnerability by assessing the status of mission critical functions (e.g., food security, water quality, housing, sanitation, health services) and identifying gaps.   Vulnerabilities are generally considered the attributes which may weaken a community's ability for a resilient response to change. Vulnerability can be viewed in terms of a natural hazard where frequency, intensity, timing and magnitude are factors of impact. Vulnerability can also be related to states of being such as those related to socio-economic factors including poverty, housing quality, access to health services, community cohesiveness and social connectedness. Vulnerabilities are often related to the capacity for maintaining and improving the health, wellness, and security of the individuals, communities, institutions, and ecosystems.

Adaptive Capacity- The ability of a community (or system) to modify or change its characteristics or behaviors to cope with an actual, or anticipated, change event. Adaptation is generally thought of as a response to a stressor.

Mitigation- Steps taken to pre-empt or avoid a risk or threat.

Community- In speaking of resilient response to change, communities can be divided into:

Communities of Placeare defined as entities in a geographic region such as a neighborhood, a town, or county.

Communities of Interestare defined as those who come together due to having a common interest or belief such as a faith-based group, those who play sports, families, students of a school, those who work for a corporation, those who use the resources of the same watershed.

Communities of Emergenceare those who come together over a particular event or issue such as a natural disaster or specific social needs to better achieve a desired outcome.

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