Community resilience updates, resources, and events from RAND

RAND Corporation: Focus on Community Resilience Newsletter

February 2012

Periodic updates on community resilience work at RAND

Welcome to the second Focus on Community Resilience newsletter. At RAND, we intensively study how communities can withstand and recover from disasters and other conditions that affect community well-being. This newsletter shares research findings, resources, and tools with people like you who are working to help communities prepare for natural and man-made emergencies. We hope this will stimulate an exchange of ideas among community leaders and provide a forum to share lessons about resilience-building strategies and activities.


Anita Chandra
Behavioral Scientist

Joie Acosta
Behavioral Scientist

Taking Action

Resilient Communities Podcast

Resilient Communities Podcast

Listen in to this audio series as RAND experts discuss the latest insights into how communities can strengthen their capacity to withstand and recover from disasters.

The second episode features Jordan Fischbach on Creating Resilient Coastal Communities.

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Louisiana Master Plan Effort Includes Building Resilience
in Coastal Communities

The Louisiana coastline

RAND researchers recently supported the development of Louisiana's draft 2012 master plan to guide the state's investments in coastal protection. This includes a new hurricane flood risk model to assess strategies to reduce flood damage, as well as a planning framework and decision support tool that compare risks associated with various land-building projects.

 Learn More

Tools & Resources

A Mapping Tool to Target Low Health Literacy in Missouri

Missouri map

RAND developed an interactive web-based mapping tool to help health care decision makers identify community-level "hot spots" of suboptimal health or health care that may be due to low health literacy (LHL). The tool generates color-coded maps to help stakeholders quickly visualize hot spots of LHL and poor quality care, and retrieve information about neighborhood characteristics and access to health services. This work was part of a multi-phase project—sponsored by the Missouri Foundation for Health—to develop a predictive model of health literacy and estimate levels of health literacy in small geographic areas (e.g., census tracts). Contact Laurie Martin ( with questions.

 Explore the Tool

Does Public Investment in Police Pay Off? Cost of Crime Calculator

Two police officers

Police personnel are one of the most expensive crime control investments for state and local governments. To properly assess the value of police personnel relative to other crime control options, policymakers must conduct a reasonable cost-benefit analysis of police staffing. The RAND Center on Quality Policing developed a simple arithmetic formula for cost-benefit analyses of police hiring, layoff, and furlough proposals. Applying the formula to several real-world cases, the Center found that the benefits of having additional officers and preventing crime generally outweigh personnel costs.

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More from the Community Resilience Roadmap: Focus on Wellness

A diverse group of people

The extent to which a community and its resources are affected by a stressful incident depends in part on the existing wellness levels of community members—their physical, behavioral, and social well-being at the time of the incident. One way to support pre-incident prevention and population wellness is to create a culture in which individuals understand the relationship between individual and community preparedness, and know how to maintain their own health. Some strategies taken from lessons learned from other disaster experiences include:

  • Developing plans that will ensure pre-incident access to health and social services, as well as post-incident continuity of services.
  • Developing community messaging to promote healthy lifestyles and bolster psychological wellness, particularly coping skills and resilience attitudes.
  • Conducting an annual assessment of local population vulnerabilities and assets. Share results across government agencies and community organizations to inform broader resilience-building activities.

 Read the Report

Frequently Asked Questions

Does community resilience require a lot of new resources or operational changes for my department / program?

There is great synergy among what government agencies, community businesses, and nonprofits already do to maintain the health and well-being of the population and what these organizations can do to support the ongoing resilience of a community to large-scale disasters. A public health department can integrate tips about emergency preparedness into its existing community outreach programs (e.g. campaigns to increase vaccination uptake). A business already engaged in social entrepreneurism can use this model to create smart rebuilding plans after a disaster. It is not always about doing more—it is about achieving greater alignment.

Conferences and Events

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Focusing on Community Resilience

Community volunteers prepare for an emergency

RAND's Washington Office Director Lynn Davis participated in the Homeland Security Advisory Council, Community Resilience Task Force (CRTF), which drafted a conceptual framework describing relationships between resilience, preparedness, and risk reduction. The CRTF tasked DHS to develop and share models for resilience through a proposed National Resilience Office.

 Read More

emergency preparedness checklist

Additionally, RAND researchers Anita Chandra and Joie Acosta participated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Whole Community Core Group. The Task Force developed a report that presents a foundation for enhancing the resilience and security of the U.S. This document provides a strategic framework to guide the emergency management community as it determines how to integrate the whole community into their daily practices.

 Read More

Get Involved

We want to hear from you! Share your ideas about building community resilience so that we can discuss your concerns in future issues of this newsletter or in the podcast. Contact us at

 Learn More on the Community Resilience Topic Page


This newsletter is a product of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute and is made possible with support from the Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve
policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

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