267871 Leveraging post-disaster community partnerships to pursue environmental health objectives: The case of Joplin, Missouri

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Derrin Culp, MIA, MCRP , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia Univeristy, New York, NY
David M. Abramson, PhD MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Catastrophic events such as the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri that killed 162 people, demolished a 250-bed hospital, and destroyed or severely damaged 8000 homes and businesses present communities with a fundamental recovery dilemma: speed versus deliberation. Residents, community groups and political leaders seek an appropriate balance between urgent demands to restore the status quo and proposals to address such health-related issues as air and water quality, climate change adaptation, flood control, sustainable development and land use, mosquito control and school safety, that have subtle connections to housing and jobs. This study documents and analyzes how a broad and diverse cross-section of the residents of Joplin came to assign a high priority to environmental and community health objectives—walkable neighborhoods, a network of bicycle trails, and a comprehensive storm-water management and reforestation strategy --along with the replacement of the “bricks and mortar” that was demolished by the tornado. Building upon prior efforts to synthesize and refine various theories of long term community recovery, this study analyzes the Joplin process and explores whether or not it potentially is replicable in locations with distinctly different demographics, resources and political cultures. It relies primarily upon in-person interviews with public health officials and hospital system managers; political, business and school system leaders; and local not-for-profit sector actors including faith-based organizations. Local media coverage of the recovery decision-making process supplements those interviews.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze the post-disaster recovery dilemma of rapid redevelopment versus deliberative planning. 2. Describe political and structural elements that facilitate deliberative community engagement processes in post-disaster recovery.

Keywords: Community Development, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project director for this study, and my co-author is the principal investigator
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.