Community Engagement in Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

A Tale of Two Cities – Los Angeles and New Orleans

Published In: Psychiatric Clinics of North America, v. 36, no. 3, Sep. 2013, p. 451-466

by Kenneth B. Wells, Benjamin Springgate, Elizabeth Lizaola, Felica Jones, Alonzo L. Plough

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Awareness of the impact of disasters globally on mental health is increasing. Known difficulties in preparing communities for disasters and a lack of focus on relationship building and organizational capacity in preparedness and response have led to a greater policy focus on community resiliency as a key public health approach to disaster response. In this article, the authors describe how an approach to community engagement for improving mental health services, disaster recovery, and preparedness from a community resiliency perspective emerged from their work in applying a partnered, participatory research framework, iteratively, in Los Angeles County and the City of New Orleans.

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