Building Community Disaster Resilience

Perspectives from a Large Urban County Department of Public Health

A new approach that aligns everyday public health with emergency preparedness through community resilience.

In the past, public health and the activities associated with emergency preparedness have operated on different platforms. Public health professionals “frequently see themselves as either everyday public health practitioners or preparedness practitioners, but rarely both.” Yet, since the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax attacks, the notion to unite disaster and emergency preparedness with public health practice has gained momentum. A campaign for community resilience embraces many practices used in community-based public health practice that in the past had not been integrated with preparedness.

 

The promotion of community resilience in a public health emergency provides a framework for equity and social justice considerations. By aligning individual preparedness and a supportive social context within the community, the launch of the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) Pilot Project is helping to build community resilience. “Know your neighbors. Plan together. Be Ready.” replaces the previous campaign: “Just Be Ready.” This new message encourages social connectivity and a community-partnered and collaborative approach. The experiences from the LACCDR Pilot Project are notable and will aid public health officials in implementing a community resilience framework within their departments.

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