3012.0 Dialogue on Haiti and the US Gulf Coast: Collaborating to Protect Vulnerable Communities

Monday, November 8, 2010: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
A dearth of research exists on the effects of a disaster for communities disproportionately affected by disparities including social, infrastructure, and health and healthcare disparities. Few published studies assess a disaster’s effect on chronic disease mortality and morbidity among medically underserved populations. Following a disaster, the medical infrastructure becomes overwhelmed with acute injury and illness (the primary surge), and thought is rarely given to chronic conditions. If left untreated, pre-existing chronic health problems can quickly become acute and have been linked to increased mortality among vulnerable populations in the wake of a disaster. However, it can be reasoned that chronic disease within the context of a disaster can have a bidirectional effect, whereby the initial acute disorders may advance to long-term illnesses if insufficiently treated. This creates a ‘secondary surge’ in required medical treatment long after the event and exaggerates health disparities among the medically underserved. We have defined “secondary surge” as the sudden increase in need for long-term healthcare services for incident chronic diseases following a disaster. Though there is sufficient evidence, no research documenting the effects of the “secondary surge” following a disaster, on a stressed community’s health status and healthcare needs currently exists in the literature. The secondary surge of chronic diseases post-disaster coupled with inherent healthcare disparities, as those commonly found in medically underserved areas, make access to routine healthcare very difficult during the recovery phase. In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti and five years after Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region, we realize that national organizations in public health, social justice, civil rights, planning, architecture, and environmental health, can do more to work together in order to address the secondary surge in underserved communities impacted by disasters. In addition, we realize that it is important for these organizations to work together, to collaborate, to develop a cross-sectoral plan of action that will allow them to leverage their resources and provide assistance to communities who have been impacted by disasters and leverage their organizational resources in order to build community capacity and resiliency. In this session, presenters from several national organizations including the American Public Health Association, National Organization Minority Architects, NAACP, and National Urban League will discuss their efforts to build capacity and resiliency in New Orleans, Haiti, and other underserved communities with infrastructure and health and healthcare disparities. In addition, these presenters will describe ways that they can work together to help rebuild communities impacted by disasters and take a holistic approach to improving resiliency in the short term and long term which will help address social disparities, underlying health disparities, and the quality of the built environment and infrastructure/resource access.
Session Objectives: List social disparities and health issues in Haiti before and after the earthquake. List social disparities and health issues in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Describe the efforts of national organizations to build community capacity to address health issues and be more resilient. Discuss opportunities for national public health, planning, and social justice organizations to work together to help underserved communities in the US and abroad be more resilient to public health threats.
Kitty Hsu Dana, VP of Health
Sacoby Wilson, MS, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions
Endorsed by: Caucus on Public Health and the Faith Community, International Health, Women's Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: APHA-Special Sessions