199086 Exploring the role of community-based organizations in helping limited English proficient populations prepare and respond to emergencies

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mei-Po Yip, PhD , Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Becca Calhoun, MPH , School of Public Health, NW Preparedness and Emergency Response Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Hendrika Meischke, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Mabel Kwong , Chinese Information and Service Center, Seattle, WA
Ida Lam , Chinese Information and Service Center, Seattle, WA
Brandon N. Ong, MD , Department of Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Sherry X. Feng , University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Shin-Ping Tu, MD MPH , Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background: Little is known about the types of services and information that Chinese immigrants with limited English proficiency (LEP) need in an emergency. In partnership with the Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC), the Northwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center of the University of Washington is conducting focus groups to understand emergency information-seeking behaviors and the use of support networks within the Chinese LEP community.

Methods: CISC is recruiting a convenience sample of 40 subjects to participate in 4 focus groups. Eligible subjects include adult Chinese speakers, who self-report LEP. Each focus group lasts for 2 hours and is conducted in the participants' native language. A moderator guide is used to conduct the discussion, was developed with input from CISC staff. All discussions are taped, translated into English, and transcribed. Each transcript is read, coded independently by project staff, and entered into Atlas.ti for further analysis.

Results: Chinese immigrants rely heavily on their family members, friends, and neighbors who speak English to access information during emergencies like snow storms. However, information received in this way is often perceived as episodic and incomplete. Participants feel that community based organizations (CBOs) are helpful in dispensing accurate information and can direct them to appropriate services. The availability of a hotline during an emergency can compliment 9-1-1, which is the only public emergency service known to this LEP community.

Conclusion: Understanding the challenges and needs of LEP populations during emergencies will help CBOs understand the components, functions, and capacities of effective emergency services.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session, participants will be able to: Describe the information needs of limited english proficiency (LEP) community Identify ways to plan services that enable limited English proficieny (LEP)people better prepared for and response to emergency situations

Keywords: Community Participation, Emergency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-investigator of this CDC funded project.
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.