Role of academic institutions in community disaster response since september 11, 2001

Anne L Dunlop, Kristi M Logue, Gerald Beltran, Alexander P Isakov
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 2011, 5 (3): 218-26

OBJECTIVE: To describe the role of academic institutions in the community response to Federal Emergency Management Agency-declared disasters from September 11, 2001, to February 1, 2009.

METHODS: We conducted a review of the published literature and Internet reports to identify academic institutions that participated in the community response to disaster events between September 11, 2001, to February 1, 2009, inclusive. From retrieved reports, we abstracted the identity of the academic institutions and the resources and services each provided. We characterized the resources and services in terms of their contribution to established constructs of community disaster resilience and disaster preparedness and response.

RESULTS: Between September 11, 2001, and February 1, 2009, there were 98 published or Internet-accessible reports describing 106 instances in which academic institutions participated in the community response to 11 Federal Emergency Management Agency-declared disaster events that occurred between September 11, 2001, and February 1, 2009. Academic institutions included academic health centers and community teaching hospitals; schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; schools with graduate programs such as engineering and psychology; and 4-year programs. The services and resources provided by the academic institutions as part of the community disaster response could be categorized as contributing to community disaster resilience by reducing the consequences or likelihood of an event or to specific dimensions of public health preparedness and response, or both. The most common dimensions addressed by academic institutions (in order of occurrence) were resource management, enabling and sustaining a public health response, information capacity management, and performance evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS: Since September 11, 2001, the participation of academic institutions in community disaster response has contributed to community resilience and the achievement of specific dimensions of disaster preparedness and response.

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