274154 Resilience in the GULF COAST: Moving towards A Better Understanding of the Broader Sociocultural Contributing Factors

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chris Mundorf, MPH , Department of 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 communities face substantial adversity - environmental stressors, poverty, and inadequate access to healthcare. Nevertheless, there exist regional communities that demonstrate better health outcomes and a stronger capacity to rebuild in the aftermath of disaster versus their regional counterparts. A plethora of research exists exploring why some individuals and communities are able to maintain better functionality in the face of external stressors, however none focus on the regions unique cultural diversity and the role it plays in resilience. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach has been deployed to study how culture is embedded in resilience and the relationship with psychosocial variables in socioeconomic status-related health disparities and disaster recovery capabilities. Semi-structured interviews across 6 Southeastern Louisiana parishes will be conducted (N=60) to explore what unique outcomes are associated with resilience in specific cultures and contexts. Participants will be stratified across target disaster-prone communities, age and SES. RESULTS: Additional knowledge is needed to clarify the ecological contexts within a multidimensional model of resilient capacities. This research will closely examine the relationship between shared cultural models and environmental stressors. Contextual analysis is expected to reveal themes characterizing cultural factors that enhance resilience: lifestyle, family life, social support, mindset/outlook, opportunity mobility, coping, and decision-making. DISCUSSION: Exploring the cultural diversity that exists throughout the Gulf-Coast is tantamount to strengthening public health research and practice through the lens of environmental health. Understanding cultural influences on overall health-related quality of life and vulnerability will directly inform interventions channeled through education, capacity building, and psychosocial community-based programs.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Examine the association of culture and psychosocial factors in relation to resilience. 2.Assess a model for studying the impact of culture on resilience.

Keywords: Vulnerable Populations, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have just finished my Master of Public Health, where my thesis was on the implementation of a resiliency measurement using cultural methods. I have been working on a federally funded grant for the previous year, where I have helped to develop study materials, and inform research strategy.
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.