Building Back Healthier through Disaster Recovery

After a disaster, affected communities work tirelessly to rebuild and recover. The disaster recovery period provides an opportunity to address vulnerabilities before the next disaster strikes by investing in stronger, healthier and more resilient communities. This body of CEER research aims to identify challenges and opportunities related to integrating health promotion into disaster recovery plans and implementation.

Recovery Policy and Plan Analysis:

To characterize requirements for disaster recovery activities that promote health and wellbeing following disasters, CEER research has identified and analyzed state laws that authorize disaster recovery programs and state plans that guide their implementation.


Recovery Implementation:

Following Hurricane Harvey, CEER investigators traveled to Texas to learn about local health department roles and responsibilities in short- and long-term recovery. At the 2018 NACCHO Public Health Preparedness Summit, we hosted a workshop session to explore local health department needs for recovery planning. Based on the findings from this workshop, we are planning a larger scale survey of local health departments to assess recovery related planning and implementation needs. We are also planning to conduct key informant interviews with local officials to identify barriers and facilitators to addressing health promotion during disaster recovery implementation.


Long Term Recovery:

CEER is working with long term recovery groups in Washington state to understand and document best practices for establishing and sustaining long term recovery organizations.


Physical Activity Impacts of Disasters:

With colleagues from the Disaster Data Science Lab and DisSci:gn Lab in the College of Engineering, CEER investigators explore how physical activity is impacted following disasters and how physical activity data can be used to monitor trends in recovery. Our work has used qualitative interviewing, as well as analysis of outdoor bike and pedestrian trail data and Strava Metro data.