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For close to a decade, the Gulf Coast of the United States has been in almost constant disaster recovery mode, and a number of lessons have been learned concerning disaster recovery and behavioral health. The purpose of this report was to describe the natural development of a Gulf Coast Resilience Coalition (GCRC).
The GCRC methods began with state-specific recovery goals following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and transitioned to a shared multistate and multidiscipline coalition. The coalition’s effectiveness is demonstrated through continuation, procurement of funding to provide response services, and increased membership to ensure sustainability.
The coalition has enhanced response, recovery, and resilience by providing strategic plans for dissemination of knowledge; post-disaster surveillance and services; effective relationships and communication with local, state, and regional partners; disaster response informed by past experience; a network of professionals and community residents; and the ability to improve access to and efficiency of future behavioral health coordination through an organized response.
The GCRC can not only improve readiness and response, but work toward a shared vision of improved overall mental and behavioral health and thus resilience, with beneficial implications for the Gulf South and other communities as well. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:657–665)
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