Online Program

In their own words: Resilience among haitians in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and its implications for clinical practice

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Guitele Rahill, PhD, School of Social Work, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Manisha Joshi, PhD, School of Social Work, University of South Florida, Tampa FL, Tampa, FL
Emel Ganapati, PhD, Department of Public Administration, School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Background: Resilience literature is often associated with traumatogenic events. Globally and historically, Haitians have survived cumulative personal, social and geographical trauma. Following the 2010 earthquake, survivors were clearly symptomatic, but many sources described them as resilient. Lacking were Haitian-specific definitions of resilience that would help clinicians identify best interventions. Methods: Using pre-established criteria, we researched conceptualizations of resilience published between 2000 and 2012 as a framework to analyze data from a mixed-method study conducted in Haiti (2010-2012). Atlas.ti. facilitated thematic analysis of (1) semi-structured interviews of community leaders (n=38), (2) focus groups of community members from 3 different neighborhoods (6 focus groups [n=36]) and town hall meetings (n=2) for verification. SPSS facilitated analysis of demographic data. Results: Our interviewees indicate that Haitian resilience (1) incorporates aspects of extant conceptualizations of resilience; (2) is a contextual resignation to survive as a matter of choice¬ówhen there is no apparent action that the individual/community can take to mitigate traumatic events; (3) is reinforced communally through proverbs; and (4) is grounded in spirituality. Testimonials of our interviewees and traditional proverbs they used are included. Conclusions/Implications: Scientific literature on resilience reveals transferable but insufficient knowledge for best practice with Haitians and in the Diaspora. Competent clinicians can benefit from knowledge of Haitian clients' cultural definitions of resilience and the reinforcing factors. Future studies should address the development of context-specific interventions for survivors in Haiti and in the Diaspora and identify the roles of relevant partners in such efforts.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate and compare the Haitian conceptualization of resilience from the scientific literature on the concept Identify the meaning of resilience from the perspective of survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti Formulate effective strategies for clinical intervention with Haitian-descendant clients, based on their inherent strengths gleaned from traditional proverbs

Keyword(s): Cultural Competency, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research focuses on HIV and behavioral health disparities for Haitians. I conducted an exploratory study on hidden practices of Haitian picuristes who provide injections in Florida without having training. This work resulted in several peer reviewed publications. As a Social Worker, I have done community development and counseled Haitian youth and families in Florida. I completed a National Science Foundation funded project on the role of social capital in post-2010 earthquake housing recovery.
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.