Karen Blackwood, PhD, MS, MPA, CEM, CHS-V, CHEC | Director

Dr. Karen Blackwood is the Director of the Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness.  Dr. Blackwood has numerous years of experience working in emergency management. Prior to her current position, she worked in the U.S. Navy’s Emergency Management Program as well as in positions at the local and county level. Along with experience she also has an extensive education in emergency management and homeland security and public administration. Dr. Blackwood holds a PhD in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University; a Masters of Science in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University; a Masters of Public Administration from Troy University; and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University. 



Barb Clark | Training & Exercise Manager

Barb is the Training Manager of the Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness.

Over her career, she has worked in Emergency Services in Utah and Idaho, as both a Fire Captain, Training Officer, Safety Officer and Paramedic. During her tenure with Boise Fire Dept, Barb specialized in fire ground medical rehab and triage for mass causality events.

Barb has an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah and numerous certifications in Emergency Medical Services and emergency management, including HazMed Technician, State and Federal Instructor, and Master Exercise Practitioner. 

Currently, Ms. Clark serves as a canine handler with the Utah FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team, UTTF1.


Craig Marsden | Co-Medical Advisor

Dr. Marsden attended Medical School at the University of Utah. Following medical school, he completed an internship and residency in Emergency Medicine at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. After his training, Dr. Marsden stayed on in Phoenix and also joined the faculty staff as a clinical instructor for Emergency Medicine. He also filled the positions of Base Station Medical Director and Medical Director of Pre-hospital Training at Maricopa Medical Center. He has served as chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Committee of Maricopa Medical Center and was the Secretary for the Arizona Emergency Service Association.

Since returning to Utah, Dr. Marsden has served on the Utah ACEP board for over 10 years, including two as President and medical director of Farmington fire for 15 years. He has served as a medical team manager for Utah Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 since its inception and was deployed to Katrina. He is on the board of directors of Ascend Alliance through which he has led numerous humanitarian expeditions to South America.

He participated in a self-designed sabbatical with DHS in Washington, DC and has a faculty appointment at George Washington University. During this time he served clinically at Fairfax and Bethesda Naval Hospitals. He has served as co-chair of the ambassador program of the international section of national ACEP.

Dr. Marsden helped establish and is co-chair of the Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness at LDS hospital. He also serves on the Physician Advisory Council and is currently the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at LDS Hospital. He has been a medical staff member of Intermountain Healthcare since 1995.

Dr. Marsden is currently the medical staff president at the LDS Hospital and served as ED medical director for 7 years.


Mark Shah | Co-Medical Advisor

Dr. Shah has been a practicing emergency physician since finishing residency in 2003. He has worked with Utah Emergency Physicians since 2006; staffing the emergency departments for Intermountain Healthcare in the Salt Lake area. Mark has been involved in disaster medicine since 2001. As the medical director for the New Mexico Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), he oversaw the care of thousands of patients after Hurricanes Frances, Katrina, and Rita.

He is now the medical director for Utah DMAT, co-medical director for the Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness, and for Intermountain Healthcare’s Urban Central Region Emergency Management.

Dr. Shah’s recent disaster deployments have included the earthquake in Haiti and the typhoon in the Philippines.

Dr. Shah teaches extensively in the area of disaster medicine, as adjunct faculty with the University of Utah.

ihc profile

Sarah Gene Hjalmarson | Preparedness Specialist

Sarah Gene is the Preparedness Specialist for the ICDP and previously worked in the Emergency Preparedness Department at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. They have a B.S. in Health Promotion & Education from the University of Utah.

Prior to enrollment at UofU, Sarah Gene served as a Medic in the US Army, working at Fox Army Health Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL and the 249th General Hospital at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. They are a certified instructor for NDLSF, FEMA/CDP, and NCBRT.


Steven Mammano | Administrative Assistant

Steve is the Admin Assistant for the ICDP. He is pursuing a B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah. At the ICDP, Steve can be found helping out with various class logistics and ensuring your visit to the Center is exceptional!