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The FIU-Florida Advanced Surgical Transport team (FIU-FAST) is an elite team of highly trained and experienced disaster medical professionals. The all-volunteer team is comprised of trained medical and health care professionals who can quickly mobilize and be ready to deploy to disaster areas anywhere in the world. Each 24-person team has the medical training and skills to set up an intensive care unit that is equipped to perform lifesaving surgical procedures and critical care for up to 72 hours. In addition to on-site care, FIU-FAST teams are qualified to transport critical care patients in either civilian and/or military aircraft.

The original team was founded in 2007 at the request of the Florida Department of Health. In 2016, a unique partnership was formed when the original team joined forces with FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Department of Emergency Management. This partnership has enabled FIU-FAST to leverage the resources of a major university resulting in state-of-the-art equipment, training and capabilities to serve those in need when disasters strike.


Our community (and beyond) is better served when public sector and private sector are both active members of the same team. FIU believes in the value of public-private partnership and has worked diligently to build strategic partnerships to augment the FIU-FAST team to ensure that it has the resources to serve the community during times of crisis and need. We like the thank the following corporate sponsors for their leadership and continued support:   

Baptist Health South Florida

The Batchelor Foundation

Florida Blue

Nicklaus Children's Hospital

Leon Medical Center

About the "Team"

John A. Rock, MD, is Founding Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at Florida International University (FIU).

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    Prior to his appointment at FIU in 2006, he held numerous academic and administrative appointments, including former director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, chairman and director of residency training programs in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine, and chancellor and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and public health at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center.

    While at Emory University, Dr. Rock raised the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s National Institutes of Health ranking from 66th in the nation to 18th. At LSU, he established a School of Public Health, significantly increased the medical school’s research funding, provided disaster management leadership during Hurricane Katrina, and had management oversight of Louisiana’s statewide Charity Hospital System.

    In addition to his administrative leadership posts, Dr. Rock has written 20 books, contributed to 78 others, and written more than 200 juried and nonjuried articles. Dr. Rock earned his MD degree in 1972 at LSU, completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center in 1976, and earned a Master in Health Care Management degree from Harvard University in 2003.

Ruben D. Almaguer currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Emergency Management and Environment Health & Safety and the Executive Director for the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness at Florida International University (FIU).
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    Formerly, he served in Monroe County Fire Rescue Department, Florida, as the Chief of Emergency Medical Services. He served as the Interim Director and Deputy Director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Prior to this, he worked for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) as a Paramedic and Division Chief. During his 22 years with MDFR, he oversaw their Special Operations Division and Air Rescue Helicopter Operations. He also served as a member of MDFR's Urban Search & Rescue Team (Florida Task Force 1). In all, he led over 27 FEMA and OFDA Urban Search and Rescue missions responding to natural and manmade disasters, including: earthquakes in Venezuela, Colombia, Taiwan, and Turkey; hurricanes and floods throughout Central America, Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States (including hurricane Katrina); as well as responses to the Oklahoma City Bombing and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Mr. Almaguer received Masters in Homeland Security and Defense from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Masters in Public Administration from FIU. He also graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®).

Steve Williams currently serves as Team Commander for the FIU-FAST Team. Steve has over 30 years of experience as an emergency flight nurse, emergency manager and disaster responder.

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    He started his career training as a registered nurse in the UK and then worked in Central America before moving to the US in 1989. In 1990, he moved to South Florida to work at Mount Sinai Medical Center's Emergency Department. He became their Director of Emergency Services in 1993. Concurrently, Mr. Williams served as Chief Flight Nurse for the South Florida Lifeflight helicopter program until 1999, flying over 2,000 hours with critically ill and injured patients on an S76 and with the US Coast Guard. 

    Mr. Williams has spent the last 17 years running medical operations for Carnival Cruise Lines and more recently Royal Caribbean where he supervised a team of 85 physicians and 165 nurse providing medical and emergency care on 40 ships worldwide. A graduate of the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Critical Care Air Transport course, Mr. Williams sits on the State of Florida Steering Committee for the State Medical Response System.  He serves as Deputy Team Commander for the International Medical Surgical Response Team, part of the US federal government, National Disaster Medical System.
Robert Levine, MD, is the Founding Chair of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University (FIU).  He is also the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education at FIU.
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    After graduating from the State University of New York Upstate Medical School, Dr. Levine did residencies in Emergency and Internal medicine at Emory University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine respectively.  Following a Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dr. Levine did a research Fellowship with Dr. Peter Safar at the International Resuscitation Center.

    Dr. Levine has authored numerous articles predominately centered on his research interests of cardiac arrest and venous thromboembolic disease including citation classics that led to changes in how we perform CPR today.  Dr. Levine has achieved Fellowship recognition in numerous societies. However, of his many professional achievements, including the Albert Soffler Award in Pulmonary Medicine, he takes greatest pleasure in having been awarded the distinction of “Hero of Emergency Medicine" by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Aileen M. Marty, MD, is a professor in the Department of Humanities, Health, and Society at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. A world-renown infectious disease specialist, she is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria.

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    She served in the U.S. Navy for 25 years specializing in tropical medicine, infectious disease pathology, disaster medicine, and weapons of mass destruction. Dr. Marty chairs the medical group for MetroLab Network’s “Fight the Bite” project and has worked with the Florida Department of Health during the 2016 Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, and the World Health Organization in Europe, the Americas, and Africa during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. She also has worked with federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Human Health Services, Department of State, Department of Agriculture, National Security Agency, Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Health, and the White House. Dr. Marty attended the Navy War College where she trained in strategic studies, diplomacy, joint military operations, and the art of war. The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) recognized her as an expert on chemical, biological, radiation, and high-energy weapons, and she is a member of the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Team for Weapons of Mass Destruction.