202936 City of Houston Study

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:15 PM

Jane Peranteau, PhD , St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, Houston, TX
Kimberly Kay Lopez, DrPH , St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, Houston, TX
Marlynn L. May, PhD , Social and Behavioral Health, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Mary M. Ford , St Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, Houston, TX
Following the emergency response events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Texas Gulf Coast, all levels of government have recognized the need to investigate the emergency preparedness capacity of specific populations. In 2008, St Luke's Episcopal Health Charities in Houston, Texas, partnered with the City of Houston Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Surveillance & Public Health Preparedness, to study the disaster preparedness of vulnerable populations in Houston. A Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) protocol designed for assessment was the foundation for this initial partnership. The Charities provided capacity-building training with community members to prepare them as community researchers. Thirteen participatory groups were conducted by four-person teams consisting of community researchers acting as facilitators and note takers. Groups were inclusive of African Americans, Latinos, seniors, young mothers, immigrants, refugees and disabled persons, the majority of whom live in extremely low-income communities. Participants described their experiences in preparing for and enduring emergencies, as individuals and as community members. Most spoke first of the emergencies they face daily, citing income insecurity, food insecurity, and experience of violence within their communities and households as the greatest emergencies they face. Notably, when discussion explored community-wide emergencies such as hurricanes and floods, the participants emphasized self-reliance, noting that they believed city services were for others, not for them. The study resulted in twelve recommendations regarding planning, media, transportation and information. It also laid the groundwork for a funded, ongoing CBPR-based partnership between the Charities and the City of Houston.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: 1) Describe the value of community-based research partnerships in assessing the needs of vulnerable communities. 2) Identify barriers to forming community-based research partnerships with entities outside of the research community. 3) List the benefits of such a partnership for the assessed communities.

Keywords: Emergency, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI in a CBPR based prevention intervention design project. I have a DrPH in public health and completed a CBPR-based dissertation.
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.