269274 Community health workers on the front-line of disaster recovery: Innovative capacity building strategy to improve continuum of reproductive health care

Monday, October 29, 2012

Laila Bondi-Marschner, MUP , Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Farah A. Arosemena, MPH , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH , Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Prof. & Chair, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Background: Gulf-Coast states rank highest for reproductive health indicators including low birth weight and preterm births. Disasters disrupt already fragile health systems depriving health disparate communities from immediate and longer-term care. This lack of secondary surge capacity requires embedding community-based, culturally competent interventions to reduce the burden of unmet health needs. Methods: The Transdisciplinary Research Consortium for Gulf Resilience on Women's Health convened women's health experts and community leaders to develop a portfolio of resources and a rapid assessment tool aimed at maximizing reproductive health services post-disaster. The Reproductive Health Assessment After Disaster (RHAD) Toolkit, designed as a guide through the planning, implementation, and analysis of a health assessment post-disaster, was used as baseline. A tailored instrument was collaboratively developed to meet the specific needs of women and to be administered in phases; pre, immediately post, and 6 months post disaster. This tool will enable receiving health systems to anticipate the increased need for reproductive services prior to the disaster, assess health care needs in the first weeks post disaster, and identify longer term needs in the recovery phase. The assessment instrument is accompanied by a regional resource guide, linking women with health and social services. Conclusions. Although application of the toolkit has not been implemented, improving its generalizability to the Gulf-Coast is necessary. A tailored needs assessment to support interventions augmenting the healthcare infrastructure can preempt a secondary surge of burden. Its implementation by CHWs enhances public health research and may increase engagement to health services by peers.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Discuss innovative strategies for ensuring continuity of care for displaced women following a large scale disaster. Assess the effectiveness of the toolkit in building capacity among providers and emergency responders throughout the region.

Keywords: Community Capacity, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an extensive background engaging communities in academic research. My area of expertise lies in bridging the gap between academia and community groups. I have worked at a number of non-profits that serve traditionally vulnerable groups, including the arenas of HIV/AIDS and homelessness. My educational background as an urban planner has equipped me with the skills to work with community groups as well as providing a strong foundation in qualitative and quantitative research.
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.