Strength in Numbers – UCFBIP Collaborates with Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Initiative

The devastating images captured during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina still haunt the minds of many, especially those who live in areas prone to storms. The reality is any disaster can spawn panic and turmoil, which is why careful planning and preparation is crucial.

Entrepreneur and wellness advocate Al Zow Sr., founder and president of HEAL Global Institute (HGI), is spearheading an effort to promote pre-disaster awareness and preparation in Central Florida. HEAL (Health Empowerment Access Links) Global Institute. HGI has launched what is known as the HG360™ initiative in communities throughout Orlando and Orange County. Designed to foster collaboration, the pilot program has two main goals: to increase the number of people who are to become prepared and self-reliant in the event of a disaster, and to facilitate Orlando and Orange County being the most prepared city and county in the nation.

HG360 has received unprecedented participation from Central Florida business, academic and government communities. UCF’s Venture Development manager, Chait Rendu, is working closely with HG360 to facilitate strategic venture opportunities between HGI and UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) companies as well as UCF faculty for relevant job creation, contracts, research and development, and grants. The UCFBIP also recently hosted one of HG360’s Collaboration Planning Team (CPT) meetings.

The National Center for Simulation (NCS) is a key member of the CPT and is looking forward to collaborating with simulation companies involved in emergency preparedness. NCS president Lt. Gen. Tom Baptiste says, “In my opinion, the HG360 initiative addresses a longtime concern about the lack of civilian emergency preparedness, and there is no doubt there is a big role for simulation to play.”

The initiative encompasses physical, emotional, financial and spiritual health while addressing pre-disaster awareness and preparation. HG360 offers a triple public benefit for individuals, families, businesses and the 62 million annual visitors within Orlando and Orange County by creating communities that are safer, healthier and more resilient.

The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) is considered the national gold standard of accreditation for emergency management programs. EMAP is also a partner of HG360, providing them guidance and subject matter experts.

“We are very excited about the HG360 initiative and how the coalition is addressing the whole person within the whole community framework,” says Christine Jacobs, assistant director of EMAP. “[HG360 is] leading the nation and the world. This is the first time we’ve seen an initiative such as the HEAL Global Institute initiative.”

Learn more about how to get involved by visiting