Sep 30, 2020
Hurricane Maria magnified Puerto Rico's fragile system for delivering social, behavioral, and environmental health services, which were evidenced by chronic disease burdens, demographic transitions, and unmet health needs. The recovery plan outlines action strategies for building a robust health infrastructure, strengthening the health care workforce, expanding social service capacity, and investing in healthy communities.
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In September 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by two major hurricanes—Irma and Maria—that intensified existing challenges in Puerto Rico's health and social services infrastructure. In the aftermath, the government of Puerto Rico created a long-term recovery plan built on an evidence-based assessment of the damage from the hurricanes and the ongoing needs across Puerto Rico. Development of the recovery plan was supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other federal agencies, local stakeholders, and analysis from the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), operated by RAND Corporation under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
HSOAC research provided the foundation for the 31 courses of action in the recovery plan addressing the health and social services sector. These actions are a mix of social, governmental, fiscal, and economic policies and reforms. This collection of actions presents an opportunity to build a more resilient health and social services infrastructure and regional health care networks to ensure reliable access to services, promote health and well-being, and more efficiently and effectively respond to public health crises and future disasters. The actions span the areas of health care, public health and emergency preparedness, environmental health, mental and behavioral health, and social services.
The damage and needs assessment and courses of actions cover four major themes: building system capacity to respond both during disasters and routine times; strengthening the health and social services workforce; strengthening support services for at-need populations; and creating health-promoting communities.
Puerto Rico's Health and Social Services Sectors Before the Hurricanes
Damage and Needs Assessment
Themes for Recovery and Courses of Action
Courses of Action
Health and Social Services Sector COAs
COAs from Other Sectors Included in the Health and Social Services Portfolio
Health and Social Services Portfolios
HSOAC is a federally funded research and development center operated by the RAND Corporation under contract with DHS.