209040 Low-income non-English speaking Hispanics perceptions of trust in public health for disaster preparedness and response

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Ivan Zapata, MPH , Office of Preparedness & Response, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Nicole Allen, MPH , School of Communty Health and Policy, Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, Baltimore, MD
Randy Rowel, PhD , School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Background/Purpose: The subject area of natural disasters and how they affect racial and ethnic minorities is still being explored by researchers. The topic of how natural disasters affect the Latino/Hispanic population and communities is in dire need of further research and understanding. Ethnic communities in the U.S. are more vulnerable to natural disasters due to factors such as language, housing patterns, building construction, community isolation, and cultural insensitivities.

Methods: Using a 4 item validated trust scale developed by Eisenman et al, the Morgan State University Why Culture Matters Disaster Studies Project conducted a study to examine trust among nearly 300 low-income non-English speaking Hispanics in Baltimore, Maryland.

Results/Outcomes: Unfortunately, 53% of Latino sample population reported that their immigration status would prevent them from receiving assistance from either the government or non-for-profit organizations. In addition, 47% of the survey participants are not confident that public health officials will do a good job during an emergency and 83% do not feel the same officials would treat them fairly regardless of race, ethnicity or income.

Conclusions: The preliminary findings obtained in this study are the beginning steps in conceptualizing and understanding how the low-income Latino Population in Baltimore City will respond, obtain information, and deal with trust issues surrounding disasters. . Researchers expect to provide recommendations to local, state, federal, and community organizations on the level of preparedness of Maryland Latinos. These recommendations will enhance the planning, response, and recovery activities required during a manmade or natural disaster.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe how trust affects disaster preparedness among low-income non-English speaking populations; 2) Compare how trust issues are perceived by low-income African Americans and Spanish speaking Hispanic populations; 3) Discuss immigration issues related to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; and 4)Explain policy, practice, and research implications of study findings.

Keywords: Disasters, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a MPH degree and I am employed as a Emergency Management Planner for the State Office of Preparedness and Response
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.