Defining the role of Public Health in Disaster Recovery: An Evaluation of State Public Health Planning Efforts
Davidson, Nicholas E.
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There is very little to direct public health planning for long-term disaster recovery. This research surveyed plans from nine hurricane-prone states to determine the extent to which those plans comply with recently published standards from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2011. An abstraction form was devised to score each plan and to document novel or innovative components within each plan. Results indicate poor compliance with the CDC standards; 79 percent of the assessments of individual preparedness components resulted in a score of zero (on a scale of zero to four). Particularly notable was a lack of planning for continuity of operations and the insufficient plans for advising residents and partner agencies as to the plans and locations for providing services after a disaster. A complicating factor was the general lack of acceptance, by public health, of the fact that public health recovery should be focused on restoring community services instead of simply restoring operations of public health agencies. This research identifies smart practices that can be adopted by public health agencies in an attempt to ensure a robust level of recovery preparedness.
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