142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Correlation of high impact flood zones with population health outcomes

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Gale A. Spencer, PhD, RN , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Sharon A. Bryant, PhD , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Florence Margai, PhD , Department of Geography, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Floods have become one of the most common natural disasters and have led to high rates of morbidity and mortality throughout the world (Ahern, Kovats, Wilkinson, Few, and Matthies, 2005, Du, Fitzgerald, Clark, and Hou, 2010).  The impacts of these disasters are directly related to the biophysical and demographic characteristics of the communities, resulting in differential patterns of vulnerability and adverse health consequences particularly in areas where residents are exposed to repetitive floods.

While the health impacts of floods are wide ranging, the purpose of this study was to examine the physical and mental health outcomes of the Broome County 2011 flood.  Geographic  technologies were used to visualize the extent of the flood and identify the high impact areas. Using the 2010 census, the high impact areas were examined to reveal the socio-demographic characteristics of the residents by age, race/ethnicity, poverty, housing quality, and percent insured. To evaluate the direct impact of flooding on individuals’ physical and mental health, data on medical care admissions, discharge, and prescriptions were analyzed for 2009, 2011 and 2013.

The study found increased rates of respiratory and mental health problems such as psychological distress and posttraumatic stress disorder among residents whose households were affected by flooding. Overall, the research confirmed that social support resources need to be integrated into disaster management strategies to reduce flood related health effects. Public health nurses will be able to use these strategies when working with populations that have been displaced from their homes by flood.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the geographic technologies used to identify high flood impact areas. Identify which health outcomes were most frequently experienced by the populations in the high flood impact area. Discuss which disaster management strategies are of most use by Public Health Nurses.

Keyword(s): Disasters, Risk Factors/Assesment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in Public Health Nursing for over 40 years as both a teacher and researcher. I teach Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I am collaborating with a Medical anthropologist and medical geographer on this project as part of a transdiciplinary research project.
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.