Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations:

B-2 Lessons learned and practical strategies for integrating diverse communities into emergency preparedness

Following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the more recent California wildfires, the need to integrate racial and ethnic minorities across the full spectrum of public health emergency preparedness has never been more evident.  A large body of research documents that racial and ethnic minorities suffer higher rates of injury, morbidity and mortality due to disasters and emergencies.  Reasons are as varied as they are complex and include historic patterns of neglect and lack of attention, knowledge and capacity to incorporate minorities in preparedness planning and implementation.  They also include individual and community factors such as lower socioeconomic status (e.g., high poverty, low literacy, substandard housing conditions, limited transportation means), cultural and linguistic barriers, and distrust of service providers, warnings and messages. 

The purpose of this two-hour Peer-to-Peer Practice Advancement Session is to discuss the key barriers and challenges and identify promising practices and strategies for reaching racial and ethnic, immigrant and limited English proficient (LEP) populations in times of emergencies.  The session will begin with a brief introduction of Panelists and their diversity and preparedness programs and move into a discussion of experiences and lessons learned working with minorities in public health emergencies.  As part of this initial dialogue, panelists will address the continuum of behavior, knowledge and attitudes of minorities before, during and after emergency events and will identify the programmatic and policy challenges to meeting their distinct needs.  Panelists will then engage in a discussion to identify promising practices and strategies, particularly as they relate to communication, community partnerships, the CLAS standards, drills and exercises, and other key areas of preparedness necessary for reaching minority populations.  The session will conclude with Panelists recommending a core set of priorities and strategies for integrating minorities into preparedness planning and implementation.

Monday, September 22, 2008: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
4th Floor - Pine/Cedar/Birch (Minneapolis Marriott City Center)
Public Hospitals Prepare for Serving Vulnerable Populations During an Emergency
Sari Siegel Spieler, PhD, National Association of Public Hopsitals and Health Systems/National Public Health and Hospital Institute
Harborview Medical Center-Lessons learned after the windstorm
Chris Martin, RN, Harborview Medical Center