Strengthening Disaster Injury Epidemiology Capacity: Update on Potential Responses to Various Disasters
methods: A disaster epidemiology special interest group within Safe States Alliance was formed to focus on injury epidemiology issues related to disasters. (Safe States Alliance is a national non-profit organization and professional association whose mission is to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention.) Their work centered on the use of injury epidemiological tools and approaches in disaster settings to gain improved epidemiologic insights for public health action. Through conference calls, this group focused on developing a guide of potential injury epidemiological responses to a variety of disasters.
results: This group has created a series of documents that provide a guide of potential injury epidemiological responses to six types of disasters: hurricane, flood, tornado, extreme heat, wildfire, and winter storms. These documents identify potential injury epidemiological activities that might be conducted before, during, and after these disasters, and provide an injury epidemiology context within the disaster management cycle. The potential activities include identifying or enhancing current surveillance systems to monitor injuries among populations (e.g., displaced persons, responders) during the disaster, using standardize injury data collection forms, mobilizing and training staff and volunteers to assist in data collection efforts, preparing media announcements and public health messages aimed at reducing injury morbidity and mortality, and preparing and disseminating injury-specific reports. Intended to be used in a planning context and to facilitate discussions with public health preparedness colleagues and other internal and external partners, this guide provides a foundation for the further development of injury epidemiology tools and approaches in other disaster settings.
conclusions: Injury epidemiologists at the local, state, national, and territorial levels are an integral part of preparedness, response and recovery to disasters; to strengthen their capacity, a practical guide has been developed that illustrates potential injury epidemiological responses to various disasters.
Learning Areas:Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Explain the role of Safe States Alliance in developing tools for conducting injury epidemiology during public health disaster responses. Discuss key capabilities of injury epidemiologists as they relate to responding to and recovering from disasters. Identify potential injury epidemiology activities that might be conducted before, during, and after disasters in your jurisdiction.
Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have many disaster preparedness roles including serving on the Coalition of Organizations for Disaster Education and the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.
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.