The Promise and Pitfalls of Community Resilience

Published In: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, Commentary, v. 7, no. 6, Commentary, Dec. 2013, p. 603-606

by Lori Uscher-Pines, Anita Chandra, Joie D. Acosta

Read More

Access further information on this document at Cambridge University Press

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

An important shift in terminology has occurred in emergency preparedness, and the concept of community resilience has become ubiquitous. Although enhancing community resilience is broader than preparedness, and emphasizes a distinct set of activities and participants, the terms are often used interchangeably. The implications of this shift have not been fully explored. This commentary describes the potential promise and pitfalls of the concept of community resilience and recommends strategies to overcome its limitations. We believe that resilience has the power to dramatically change this field in immense, positive ways, but some important challenges such as confusion about definitions and lack of accountability must first be overcome.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.