246480 Building environmental health emergency capacity and resilience in urban communities of the Inland Empire of Southern California

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:34 PM

Thelma Gamboa-Maldonado, DrPH (c), MPH, CHES , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Walleska I. Bliss, MPH, MSW(c) , School of Public Health, Center for Public Health Preparedness, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Biblia Kim, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Gricelda Gomez, BS , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
David Busolo, MPH, RN , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Education, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Juan Carlos Belliard, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Helen Hopp Marshak, PhD , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Penny Newman , Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), Riverside, CA
David T. Dyjack, DrPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Susanne Montgomery, PhD, MPH, MS , Behavioral Health Institute, Loma Linda University, Redlands, CA
As natural and man-made emergencies or disasters have negative repercussions on the environmental health and safety of those affected, it is imperative that the Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness/Response (EHEPR) branches of local public health departments coordinate their efforts to engage with communities in discovering solutions to disparities in emergency preparedness. In this mixed methods, quasi-experimental study, we are comparing the conventional expert-driven approach to public health emergency preparedness by the San Bernardino County EHEPR workforce to an environmental health emergency preparedness (EHEP) community-based participatory approach by the Riverside County EHEPR workforce. These adjacent counties have the greatest land mass in the nation, but are two of the most resource poor. Almost half of their population is Latino, many being low English proficient. A great proportion of the urban residents of these two counties live adjacent to the largest railyards east of the Los Angeles port cities. In addition to the chronic earthquake threats endemic to all of California, their health and safety is endangered by environmental hazards including high levels of air pollution due to train and truck exhaust and potential hazardous materials spills resulting from train derailments. Formative research was conducted with EHEPR and community residents of both counties using key informant interviews, validation focus groups, windshield surveys, and GIS demographic mapping. The qualitative data set was transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emerging themes. Next, the EHEPR workforces were surveyed to examine personal and collective efficacy, capacity, and readiness to engage community organizations and members in environmental health emergency preparedness. Community capacity to deal with emergencies was captured in a household survey administered in both counties. Baseline assessment findings lead to the creation of a culturally-appropriate EHEP community program for Riverside County. Such alliances are essential for public health to effectively move forward in these challenging times.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. List findings of cutting-edge research that can be applied to local public health practice in the areas of environmental health emergency preparedness. 2. Describe reasons why the responsibility for the preparedness of the nation's communities lies not only with governmental agencies but also with active, engaged, and mobilized community residents, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations. 3. Explain how community-based participatory research principles can be used to forge stronger relationships between public health departments, community-based organizations, and community members. 4. Identify how community-based participatory research principles can be used to create a sustainable, culturally-sensitive environmental health emergency preparedness community program.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigtor and the project coordinator for this study. As an advanced docotral student, I have many years of experience in community-based action research and mixed-methods approaches.
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.