A Community-Based Participatory Assessment of Health Care Needs in Post-Katrina New Orleans

An Update for Community Members and Advocates

Published In: After Katrina: Rebuilding a Healthy New Orleans, Final Conference Report of the New Orleans Health Disparities Initiative / ed. Marcheta Gillam et al. (Washington, D.C. : Poverty & Race Research Action Council, May 2007), p. 43-50

Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2007

by Benjamin Springgate, Catherine Jones, Charles Allen, Shaula Lovera, Ruth Klap, Diana Meyers, Lawrence Palinkas, Kenneth B. Wells

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The Rapid Evaluation and Action for Community Health in Louisiana (REACH-LA) Phase I was a four-month project conducted between May and August 2006 to identify the needs, existing resources, gaps, and solutions to ensuring health care in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Unlike other studies of post-hurricane health issues, this project used community-based participatory methods to engage community members themselves in the design, conduct, and interpretation of the results. Various New Orleans' citizens comprised a Community Advisory Board (CAB), which secured community engagement throughout the project's duration. A Scientific Advisory Board was assembled to provide scientific oversight, methodological and conceptual support. Finally, information was collected through 30 interviews of key informants (policymakers, health sector recovery planners, healthy system administrators, health care providers, and community health leaders), four Community Discussion Groups (CDG) in diverse Greater New Orleans neighborhoods, and a Community Feedback Conference. This approach afforded insight into the depth and breadth of concerns and ideas for solutions in the aftermath of one of the largest disasters in the nation's history. This brief report describes the findings from the Community Discussion Groups, which affords the most direct insight into grassroots community perspectives on healthcare needs in response to the disaster.

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