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Examining Public Health Workers’ Perceptions Toward Participating in Disaster Recovery After Hurricane Sandy: A Quantitative Assessment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2016

Nicole A. Errett
Affiliation:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Baltimore, Maryland
Carol B. Thompson
Affiliation:
Department of Biostatistics, Baltimore, Maryland
Lainie Rutkow
Affiliation:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, Baltimore, Maryland
Stephanie Garrity
Affiliation:
Cecil County Health Department, Elkton, Maryland
Kandra Stauss-Riggs
Affiliation:
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, Bethesda, Maryland
Brian A. Altman
Affiliation:
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, Bethesda, Maryland
Lauren Walsh
Affiliation:
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, Bethesda, Maryland
Jeffrey D. Freeman
Affiliation:
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Baltimore, Maryland
Ran D. Balicer
Affiliation:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Epidemiology, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Kenneth W. Schor
Affiliation:
The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Rockville, Maryland.
Daniel J. Barnett
Affiliation:
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Baltimore, Maryland
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objective

We aimed to quantitatively gauge local public health workers’ perceptions toward disaster recovery role expectations among jurisdictions in New Jersey and Maryland affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Methods

An online survey was made available in 2014 to all employees in 8 Maryland and New Jersey local health departments whose jurisdictions had been impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The survey included perceptions of their actual disaster recovery involvement across 3 phases: days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years. The survey also queried about their perceptions about future involvement and future available support.

Results

Sixty-four percent of the 1047 potential staff responded to the survey (n=669). Across the 3 phases, 72% to 74% of the pre-Hurricane Sandy hires knew their roles in disaster recovery, 73% to 75% indicated confidence in their assigned roles (self-efficacy), and 58% to 63% indicated that their participation made a difference (response efficacy). Of the respondents who did not think it likely that they would be asked to participate in future disaster recovery efforts (n=70), 39% indicated a willingness to participate.

Conclusion

The marked gaps identified in local public health workers’ awareness of, sense of efficacy toward, and willingness to participate in disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy represent a significant infrastructural concern of policy and programmatic relevance. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:371–377)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2016 

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References

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