227687 Understanding community emergency preparedness: Exploring networks and modes of communication in an underserved ethnic minority community

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Serah Iheasirim, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Holly Schuh, MPH (c) , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Tehani Mundy, BS, MPH(c) , Department of Global Health & Maternal and Child Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Atinuke Shittu, BSN, RN, MPH(c) , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Donn P. Gaede, PhD, MPH , Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Susanne Montgomery, PhD , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Background: Ethnic minority communities have a disproportionate vulnerability to emergency disasters. San Bernardino County represents a racially diverse population including underserved African American and Latino communities (9.4% and 47.5%, respectively). To address the disparity, one African American community in the Westside of San Bernardino initiated a community-led disaster preparedness project. The project's aim was to explore community readiness for networking and engaging community members to create the infrastructure capable of responding to potential disasters. Methods: Using CBPR methods, global health graduate students from a nearby academic research institute partnered with a faith-based organization (FBO) and other key community stakeholders. Twenty-one key informant interviews and two validation focus groups were conducted to identify existing networks, modes of communication, and potential partnerships regarding emergency preparedness. Three tabletop exercises were used to facilitate community involvement and collaboration. Data was analyzed using grounded theory methods and findings were presented back to the community. A map and frequency count of interaction between community stakeholders and entities were used to track community interaction and initiation. Results: Interviews indicated a general disconnect between the community and existing (governmental) networks and identified potential community resources. Three main outcomes were identified: (1) a mechanism for community communication and resource mobilization, (2) a community-based board to direct local emergency preparedness efforts, and (3) the first-ever CERT training program held in the city of San Bernardino. Conclusion: By tracking community interaction and partnerships, we can better identify existing and potential communication and resource networks to improve emergency preparedness in vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
To evaluate how tracking community interaction and partnerships can assist in exploration of networks and modes of communication effective for community emergency preparedness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed my MPH degree and had an active role as one member of a 7 member team to implement the project conducted that is the basis of this presentation.
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.

Back to: 4354.0: Public Health Preparedness