Post-Disaster Recovery of a Community's Public Health, Medical and Social Services
Disaster recovery efforts may improve community health and promote wellness and resilience by addressing health disparities and the physical, social, and economic dimensions of community life. However, in the field of disaster and emergency management, post-disaster recovery has played an important, if low-profile role in the overall disaster response arena and, when addressed, frequently references the restoration of previously extant physical or economic systems within a community. In particular, the areas of focus tend to center on “bricks and mortar” infrastructure reconstitution (e.g. roads, bridges, housing stock, commercial structures, etc) and/or business and commercial recovery. Often times, absent from these conversations is the critical importance of health, including public health, medical and social services and their roles in supporting overall community recovery.
With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee will conduct a study and issue a report on how to improve short, intermediate and long-term health outcomes in communities impacted by a catastrophic incident. The committee will investigate and identify key activities, recovery practices and novel programs that impact health outcomes in a community recovering from a disaster, and develop recommendations for their implementation.