Public health practice and disaster resilience: A framework integrating resilience as a worker protection strategy

Dori B. Reissman, Kathleen M. Kowalski-Trakofler, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The disciplines of emergency management and public health share objectives in hazard identification and the application of control or prevention strategies in the advent of disasters. This chapter defines resilience as it pertains to workers converging at a disaster site to perform response, recovery, or clean-up operations. A conceptual framework will be applied to disaster situations to highlight intervention avenues to preserve or enhance the resilience of the workers. Possible interventions include worker training and education, medical and emotional support services, disaster safety management, and alignment of organizational culture, policy, and procedures. The disciplines of public health and emergency management. Public health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health and efficiency through organized community effort” (Winslow, 1920). Epidemiology is the basic science of public health research, policy, and practice; which provides methods to study factors affecting the health and illness of populations (Institute of Medicine, 2002). Modern public health practice requires alliance among many disciplines and emotionally charged points of view, particularly when health and safety become challenged by disasters. Public health and emergency management share the objectives of identifying hazards and managing risk, particularly before a disaster strikes (Haddow & Bullock, 2006). When looking across these disciplines, risk would be defined as susceptibility to death, injury, and illness to people; damage or destruction of the human-built or natural environment; and disruption or stoppage of services that support people from a population perspective. The purview of both disciplines has varied over time and in response to events, legislative initiatives, and leadership styles. For the purposes of this chapter, a disaster is defined as a serious disruption in the functioning of a local jurisdiction that poses a significant level of threat to life, health, property, or the environment and requires outside assistance to manage or cope with the event (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2000). In common parlance, disasters are local events and directly impact communities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResilience and Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges Across the Lifespan
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780511994791
ISBN (Print)9780521898393
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


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