227894 What is the effect of a natural disaster on research with a low income population

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Elizabeth Reifsnider, PhD, APRN, BC , School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Sheryl Bishop, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Aims: This paper will discuss how a natural disaster affected the recruitment and retention of a vulnerable population in an intervention study and the measures that were employed to adjust to those challenges. We will also describe the characteristics of the low-income sample that experienced losses due to Hurricane Ike and have who have been recruited into the study “Reducing Overweight among Galveston WIC Recipients”. Methods: The research team faced a variety of challenges to continuation of the study. Data were collected from subjects (mothers of overweight children in the WIC program in Galveston County) after informed consent. The instruments include ARSMA II, HOME Screening Questionnaire, Child Feeding Scale, Household Food Inventory, 24 hour diet recall, Beck Depression Inventory, Hurricane Ike Impact Questionnaire, Perceived Environmental Impact Scale. Data have been collected three times, every six months at WIC recertification. Findings: A research study that focused on obesity prevention for low income children through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program clinics in the local county was just getting enrollment started when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston County. Several of the county's clinics were closed due to flood damage and other ones were without power although not damaged. Further compounding the difficulties faced by the population, four low income housing complexes were flooded and all the residents of these complexes were evacuated from the city of Galveston. To date, 80 subjects (40 mother-child dyads) have been enrolled. A variety of responses to Hurricane Ike have been identified. Conclusions: Maintaining communication with all parties (IRB, funders, recruitment sites, etc) is important and should be fast and clear. The use of a Hurricane Impact Questionnaire allows for researchers to evaluate the impact of the disaster on household functioning, especially in homes with young children. Many subjects were displaced and maintaining contact with an already transient population presents many challenges. Few studies have examined the impact of a natural disaster on the outcomes of an intervention promoting healthy eating and physical activity.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the effects of a natural disaster on recruitment and retention of low income subjects in an intervention study. 2. Discuss the effects of a natural disaster on nutritional outcomes of a low income population.

Keywords: Disasters, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research to be presented.
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.