Community Disaster Resilience

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Principal Investigator: David Eisenman

Community resilience (CR), the sustained ability of a community to withstand and recover from disasters, is a key policy issue. It is a new orientation for public health preparedness bridging the emergency management framework that shaped public health preparedness with the public health promotion activities characterized by community participatory methods. The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project is a CDC-funded project that aims to bolster community resilience. Partners are LACDPH, UCLA, RAND, USGS and ENLA. Year 1 entailed community visioning and planning to develop the CR intervention. In Year 2, sixteen matched communities were randomly assigned to resilience vs. standard preparedness practice. Resilience communities have a public health nurse leading them through a toolkit of CR resources (psychological first aid, community engagement and leadership development, a community hazards/assets mapping program, training community field workers). The control communities have a public health nurse leading them through a of traditional preparedness toolkit. In Years 3-5, communities will develop and field their resilience plans. Outcomes are CR proxies such as engagement of community based organizations, partnerships between LACDPH and CBOs and between CBOs, community education, and self-sufficiency. Evaluation includes organizational surveys and network analysis, population surveys and table-top exercises.