186621 Title: Experiences of public health workers in responding to Hurricane Katrina: Voices from the storm

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 9:00 AM

Nancy VanDevanter, DrPH, RN , New York University College of Nursing and Dentistry, New York, NY
David M. Abramson, PhD MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Joyce Moon Howard, DrPH , Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Perri Leviss, MPM , Consultant, Barrington, RI
Peggy Honore, DBA , Mississippi Department of Health, Jackson, MS
In the summer of 2006 we conducted an oral history of the public health response to Hurricane Katrina with over 50 public health providers identified at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the New Orleans Public Health Department, and the Mississippi Department of Health. Most informants were executive or high-level administrators or managers, although a number of critical front-line providers were identified as well. Each subject provided an oral history of their experience prior to, during, and in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed, coded and analyzed. A striking finding from the data was the extraordinary range of activities public health workers carried out and the profound challenges they experienced both personally and professionally as a result of this unprecedented disaster. The extent of the psychological impact of their response to the disaster is related the complexity of being disaster responders and victims at the same time. We will explore these issues through hearing their experiences in their own words.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objective: Participants will be able to discuss the range of activities public health workers carried out in responding to Hurricane Katrina, challenges they experienced personally and professionally and the mental health implications for disaster reaponders.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the study
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.