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

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

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

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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.

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