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Sammies 2019 finalist Kristen Finne, Senior Program Analyst and Manager at the HHS emPOWER Program, discusses ensuring safety for people on medical devices during power outages, and how data can help those in the path of disaster.

When natural disasters hit and knock electricity out, it can be devastating for those on powered medical equipment. To get those with necessary medical devices to safety, and to prevent overtaxing hospitals and other care centers, the HHS emPOWER Program is using data to find and warn those vulnerable people before a disaster strikes. Kristen Finne, Senior Program Analyst and Manager at the HHS emPOWER Program is nominated for a Service to America medal for her work on the initiative. She told government.


“Based on the person or partner that we’re working, it is the right data, right person, right tool, right time… If it just has a number of people living in zip code that are electricity dependent and you can go to and see the map yourself.” Finne said. “We have restricted de-identified data that is a little bit more granular… In the event of a disaster or an imminent threat, public health officials can call us, complete a disclosure process and we can provide data in as little as two hours. That can provide the individual level data, that’s the information that is going to be used in the event of life savings. They can request it, get that data, partner with us… and do the outreach to protect health and save lives.”

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