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Public Health Rep. 2014;129 Suppl 4:87-95.

The engagement of academic institutions in community disaster response: a comparative analysis.

Author information

1
Emory University, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Atlanta, GA ; Emory University, Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center, Atlanta, GA.
2
Emory University, Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center, Atlanta, GA ; Emory University, Department of Emergency Medicine, Atlanta, GA ; Emory University, Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, Atlanta, GA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Using comparative analysis, we examined the factors that influence the engagement of academic institutions in community disaster response.

METHODS:

We identified colleges and universities located in counties affected by four Federal Emergency Management Agency-declared disasters (Kentucky ice storms, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, California wildfires, and the Columbia space shuttle disintegration) and performed key informant interviews with officials from public health, emergency management, and academic institutions in those counties. We used a comparative case study approach to explore particular resources provided by academic institutions, processes for engagement, and reasons for engagement or lack thereof in the community disaster response.

RESULTS:

Academic institutions contribute a broad range of resources to community disaster response. Their involvement and the extent of their engagement is variable and influenced by (1) their resources, (2) preexisting relationships with public health and emergency management organizations, (3) the structure and organizational placement of the school's disaster planning and response office, and (4) perceptions of liability and lines of authority. Facilitators of engagement include (1) the availability of faculty expertise or special training programs, (2) academic staff presence on public health and emergency management planning boards, (3) faculty contracts and student practica, (4) incident command system or emergency operations training of academic staff, and (5) the existence of mutual aid or memoranda of agreements.

CONCLUSION:

While a range of relationships exist between academic institutions that engage with public health and emergency management agencies in community disaster response, recurrent win-win themes include co-appointed faculty and staff; field experience opportunities for students; and shared planning and training for academic, public health, and emergency management personnel.

PMID:
25355979
PMCID:
PMC4187311
DOI:
10.1177/00333549141296S412
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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