195477 Increased population and economic growth on the Gulf Coast: Implications for water quality

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Karen M. Hamilton, PhD, RN , Department of Community Mental Health, University of South Alabama College of Nursing, Mobile, AL
Alice J. Godfrey, MPH, RN, BC , Department of Community Mental Health, University of South Alabama College of Nursing, Mobile, AL
Background and issues

Communities along the Gulf Coast are experiencing rapid growth. In the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, this growth as resulted in an increase in populations in urban and rural communities and a concern for the environmental impact on the many rivers, canals, and waterways in the area. The region is attractive to major industries as well as tourist and recreational industries. The collective influence of the demographic and economic changes in the communities has brought agencies and environmental advocacy groups together.


The purpose of this project is to apply the epidemiologic triad to the assessment of the communities in the Gulf Coast region. Analysis of changing population data is presented. The biological and chemical agents that put the communities at risk are identified. The environmental attributes that impact the quality of water in the communities are described.

Lessons learned

The investigators discovered a network of local, state, and national agencies that are working to protect and preserve a safe water supply through monitoring and surveillance activities. The role of the public health nurse in surveillance, case finding and community education are supported as well as the importance of inclusion of environmental assessment strategies in advanced public health nursing curricula.


Further assessment activities should include surveillance of water borne illnesses and the development and evaluation of effective primary prevention interventions in the communities. The epidemiologic triad is recommended as an effective model for assessing and evaluating community data.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the application of the epidemiologic triad to the assessment of communities. 2. Describe the structural and geopolitical changes on the Gulf Coast. 3. Discuss the implications of population and economic growth on water quality. 4. List agencies and resources that work to protect and preserve the quality of water available to communities.

Keywords: Community, Water Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 1998 present Clinical Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL Areas of Expertise: PI for HRSA continued grant: Public Health Nursing Administration, 2008-2010, Disaster Nursing graduate level, Health Policy graduate level, and Biostatistics. Community/Public health; school health; health promotion, nursing research graduate/undergraduate (online)
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.