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Disasters. 2012 Jul;36(3):514-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2011.01262.x. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

An adaptive governance approach to disaster-related behavioural health services.

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Department of Public Administration, University of North Texas, United States.


This paper explores the provision of disaster-related behavioural and mental health (DBH) services as a problem of institutional collective action in the United States. This study reviews the challenges that providers have in surmounting multi-organizational disconnects, unstable professional legitimacy, ambiguous information, and shifting disaster needs in developing a system for delivering DBH services. Based on the adaptive governance framework, it argues that existing protocols such as the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) may be helpful in advancing collective action, but that real progress will depend on a recognition of norms, expectations, and credentials across many spheres-in other words, on the ability of responders to continuously adjust their procedures and administrative boundaries for behavioural health institutions.

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