184763 Surge capacity networks

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hr Foushee, PhD , Center for Health Promotion, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
A nation prepared for disasters requires, in part, coordinated efforts between governmental emergency management agencies and nongovernmental service organizations (NSOs) active in disaster response. Although some NSOs are well integrated, many are not well understood and struggle to gain acceptance by formal emergency management systems. Thirty-three stakeholders from eighteen NSOs recently participated in focus groups to discuss: (1) NSO-mission or purpose; (2) NSO-capabilities and resources; (3) factors that facilitate or impede response effectiveness; and (4) recommendations for harnessing NSO-surge capacity. Results showed that: (1) most NSOs function independently or collaboratively to meet the basic and long-term recovery needs of all disaster survivors and damaged communities; (2) while NSOs maintain an array of unique and common capabilities and resources that span all four emergency response phases, these capabilities and resources are not integrated consistently throughout formal emergency management systems; (3) response effectiveness is facilitated by a spirit of cooperation, organizational flexibility, access to reliable communications and knowledgeable decision-makers capable of mobilizing needed resources; impediments to response effectiveness include lacking credentials for NSO-responders, limited governmental awareness of NSO-capabilities, and apprehensions towards partnering with formal emergency management systems; and (4) harnessing NSO-capabilities will require raising governmental awareness concerning the immense surge capacity represented by NSOs, and a commitment to establishing trusted and reciprocal partnerships between formal emergency management agencies and NSOs. Outcomes were translated into study metrics for upcoming survey research projects aiming to assess local and national NSO-surge capacity. Outcomes will help guide future initiatives to enhance and integrate that capacity nationwide.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the unique and common disaster preparedness and response functions nongovernmental service organizations (NSOs) active in disaster response. 2. Describe facilitators and barriers to effective surge responsiveness by nongovernmental service organizations (NSOs) active in disaster response. 3. Describe methods for conducting focus groups, analyzing and translating results, and validating outcomes. 4. Discuss focused research efforts to increase national surge capacity by integrative the capabilities maintained by nongovernmental service organizations (NSOs) active in disaster response.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD in Social Psychology. Principal Investigator-Surge Capacity Networks Project. Director, Univ of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Survey Research Unit. Faculty, UAB School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.