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To summarize ways that networks of community-based organizations (CBO), in partnership with public health departments, contribute to community recovery from disaster.
The study was conducted using an online survey administered one and 2 years after Hurricane Sandy to the partnership networks of 369 CBO and the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The survey assessed the structure and durability of networks, how they were influenced by storm damage, and whether more connected networks were associated with better recovery outcomes.
During response and recovery, CBOs provide an array of critical public health services often outside their usual scope. New CBO partnerships were formed to support recovery, particularly in severely impacted areas. CBOs that were more connected to other CBOs and were part of a long-term recovery committee reported greater impacts on the community; however, a partnership with the local health department was not associated with recovery impacts.
CBO partners are flexible in their scope of services, and CBO partnerships often emerge in areas with the greatest storm damage, and subsequently the greatest community needs. National policies will advance if they account for the dynamic and emergent nature of these partnerships and their contributions, and clarify the role of government partners. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:635–643)
We identify characteristics of local health departments, which enhance collaborations with community- and faith-based organizations (CFBOs) for emergency preparedness and response.
Online survey data were collected from a sample of 273 disaster preparedness coordinators working at local health departments across the United States between August and December 2011.
Using multiple linear regression models, we found that perceptions of CFBO trust were associated with more successful partnership planning (β=0.63; P=0.02) and capacity building (β=0.61; P=0.01). Employee layoffs in the past 3 years (β=0.41; P=0.001) and urban location (β=0.41; P=0.005) were positively associated with higher ratings of resource sharing between health agencies and CFBOs. Having 1-3 full-time employees increased the ratings of success in communication and outreach activities compared with health departments having less than 1 full-time employee (β=0.33; P=0.05). Positive attitudes toward CFBOs also enhanced communication and outreach (β=0.16; P=0.03).
Staff-capacity factors are important for quick dissemination of information and resources needed to address emerging threats. Building the trust of CFBOs can help address large-scale disasters by improving the success of more involved activities that integrate the CFBO into emergency plans and operations of the health department and that better align with federal-funding performance measures. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:57–66)
Local health departments (LHDs) have little guidance for operationalizing community resilience (CR). We explored how community coalitions responded to 4 CR levers (education, engagement, partnerships, and community self-sufficiency) during the first planning year of the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) Project.
Sixteen communities were selected and randomly assigned to the experimental CR group or the control preparedness group. Eight CR coalitions met monthly to plan CR-building activities or to receive CR training from a public health nurse. Trained observers documented the coalitions’ understanding and application of CR at each meeting. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze structured observation reports around the 4 levers.
Analysis of 41 reports suggested that coalitions underwent a process of learning about and applying CR concepts in the planning year. Groups resonated with ideas of education, community self-sufficiency, and engagement, but increasing partnerships was challenging.
LHDs can support coalitions by anticipating the time necessary to understand CR and by facilitating engagement. Understanding the issues that emerge in the early phases of planning and implementing CR-building activities is critical. LHDs can use the experience of the LACCDR Project’s planning year as a guide to navigate challenges and issues that emerge as they operationalize the CR model. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:812–821)
Recent US disasters highlight the current imbalance between the high proportion of chronically ill Americans who depend on prescription medications and their lack of medication reserves for disaster preparedness. We examined barriers that Los Angeles County residents with chronic illness experience within the prescription drug procurement system to achieve recommended medication reserves.
A mixed methods design included evaluation of insurance pharmacy benefits, focus group interviews with patients, and key informant interviews with physicians, pharmacists, and insurers.
Results and Discussion
Most prescriptions are dispensed as 30-day units through retail pharmacies with refills available after 75% of use, leaving a monthly medication reserve of 7 days. For patients to acquire 14- to 30-day disaster medication reserves, health professionals interviewed supported 60- to 100-day dispensing units. Barriers included restrictive insurance benefits, patients’ resistance to mail order, and higher copay-ments. Physicians, pharmacists, and insurers also varied widely in their preparedness planning and collective mutual-aid plans, and most believed pharmacists had the primary responsibility for patients’ medication continuity during a disaster.
To strengthen prescription drug continuity in disasters, recommendations include the following: (1) creating flexible drug-dispensing policies to help patients build reserves, (2) training professionals to inform patients about disaster planning, and (3) building collaborative partnerships among system stakeholders. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;7:257-265)
While information for the medical aspects of disaster surge is increasingly available, there is little guidance for health care facilities on how to manage the psychological aspects of large-scale disasters that might involve a surge of psychological casualties. In addition, no models are available to guide the development of training curricula to address these needs. This article describes 2 conceptual frameworks to guide hospitals and clinics in managing such consequences. One framework was developed to understand the antecedents of psychological effects or “psychological triggers” (restricted movement, limited resources, limited information, trauma exposure, and perceived personal or family risk) that cause the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive reactions following large-scale disasters. Another framework, adapted from the Donabedian quality of care model, was developed to guide appropriate disaster response by health care facilities in addressing the consequences of reactions to psychological triggers. This framework specifies structural components (internal organizational structure and chain of command, resources and infrastructure, and knowledge and skills) that should be in place before an event to minimize consequences. The framework also specifies process components (coordination with external organizations, risk assessment and monitoring, psychological support, and communication and information sharing) to support evidence-informed interventions.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:73-80)
Objectives: Chronic medical and mental illness and disability increase vulnerability to disasters. National efforts have focused on preparing people with disabilities, and studies find them to be increasingly prepared, but less is known about people with chronic mental and medical illnesses. We examined the relation between health status (mental health, perceived general health, and disability) and disaster preparedness (home disaster supplies and family communication plan).
Methods: A random-digit-dial telephone survey of the Los Angeles County population was conducted October 2004 to January 2005 in 6 languages. Separate multivariate regressions modeled determinants of disaster preparedness, adjusting for sociodemographic covariates then sociodemographic variables and health status variables.
Results: Only 40.7% of people who rated their health as fair/poor have disaster supplies compared with 53.1% of those who rate their health as excellent (P < 0.001). Only 34.8% of people who rated their health as fair/poor have an emergency plan compared with 44.8% of those who rate their health as excellent (P < 0.01). Only 29.5% of people who have a serious mental illness have disaster supplies compared with 49.2% of those who do not have a serious mental illness (P < 0.001). People with fair/poor health remained less likely to have disaster supplies (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50–0.96) and less likely to have an emergency plan (AOR 0.68, 95% CI 0.51–0.92) compared with those who rate their health as excellent, after adjusting for the sociodemographic covariates. People with serious mental illness remained less likely to have disaster supplies after adjusting for the sociodemographic covariates (AOR 0.67, 95% CI 0.48–0.93). Disability status was not associated with lower rates of disaster supplies or emergency communication plans in bivariate or multivariate analyses. Finally, adjusting for the sociodemographic and other health variables, people with fair/poor health remained less likely to have an emergency plan (AOR 0.66, 95% CI 0.48–0.92) and people with serious mental illness remained less likely to have disaster supplies (AOR 0.67, 95% CI 0.47–0.95).
Conclusions: People who report fair/poor general health and probable serious mental illness are less likely to report household disaster preparedness and an emergency communication plan. Our results could add to our understanding of why people with preexisting health problems suffer disproportionately from disasters. Public health may consider collaborating with community partners and health services providers to improve preparedness among people with chronic illness and people who are mentally ill. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3:33–41)
Although information is available to guide hospitals and clinics on the medical aspects of disaster surge, there is little guidance on how to manage the expected surge of persons needing psychological assessment and response after a catastrophic event. This neglected area of disaster medicine is addressed by presenting a novel and practical quality improvement tool for hospitals and clinics to use in planning for and responding to the psychological consequences of catastrophic events that create a surge of psychological casualties presenting for health care. Industrial quality improvement processes, already widely adopted in the healthcare sector, translate well when applied to disaster medicine and public health preparedness. This paper describes the development of the tool, presents data on facility preparedness from 31 hospitals and clinics in Los Angeles County, and discusses how the tool can be used as a benchmark for targeting improvement. The tool can serve to increase facility awareness of which components of disaster preparedness and response must be addressed through hospitals' and clinics' existing quality improvement programs. It also can provide information for periodic assessment and evaluation of progress over time.
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