Applying Community Engagement to Disaster Planning

Developing the Vision and Design for the Los Angeles Community Disaster Resilience Initiative

Community-partnered participatory research results in a useful framework to plan a community resilence initiative in Los Angeles County.

Community resilience (CR) as a means to effectively buffer or support the effective response to disasters has recently emerged as a method for public health preparedness and emergency response. However, there are no models on how to effectively build CR. The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR), initiated in 2010, emphasized the importance of community engagement to build CR. This article describes how the LACCDR Steering Council—in just 18 months—organized the framework to build CR in the very diverse populations of Los Angeles County through the use of community-partnered participatory research (CPPR).

Key Findings:

  • A three-year pilot demonstration of implementing CR versus enhanced public health practice and developing intervention toolkits were successfully completed using the stages of a CPPR initiative.

This article helps underscore the importance of a commitment to community participation and shows that CPPR is an effective knowledge exchange to plan a CR initiative.