The Community Preparedness Research Project
The Community Preparedness Research Project is headed by Dr. David McBride. It is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program which supports researchers whose crosscutting and innovative ideas promise to contribute meaningfully to improving health and health care policy. The Project's focus is on improving community and policy responses to public health emergencies that affect disadvantaged communities. These emergencies include severe weather events, industrial accidents and pollution, floods and hurricanes, disease epidemics, bioterrorism, and other mass casualty threats and events.
The programs of the CHPP foster research and outreach educational programs that can assist professionals at schools, health facilities, and other neighborhood institutions. These programs strengthen local planning for public health emergencies as well as initiatives to reduce long-term conditions creating these community health risks. Currently the Project research is developing case-studies of public health emergencies and community preparedness in cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Camden, and Chester (Pa.). The study of these locales include epidemiological and environmental health, ethnographic, public health, and policy analysis. These local surveys are the basis for a national study that will be shared with the larger public health academic and practitioner community.
The CHPP also has held community forums. These mini-conferences, titled Local Communities--National Emergencies, are designed to obtain input from target communities on recent or possible emergencies involving their institutions and city sections. The forums have also been a means for the Project to provide local professionals with exposure to the newest, university-based research on the changing face of public health emergencies and natural disasters. Attendees include educators, municipal health and public safety personnel, community organization leaders, and parent group leaders. Forum topics cover recent urban mass emergencies; mental health aspects of disasters and recovery in children, youth, and other vulnerable populations; the different roles of government agencies in assisting with emergency and recovery services; and linking with preparedness agencies and their outreach resources to strengthen local emergency strategies.
Finally, the CHPP plans to provide future surveys and community-based programs focusing on new challenges for improving community health. These challenges include preparing locally for global climate change, and preventing the continuing destruction of healthy environments, cultural heritage sites, and a sense of security in local communities.
Prof. David McBride, Ph.D.
Dr. McBride is a professor in the College of Liberal Arts (AAAS) and Center for Health Care and Policy Research. His teaching and research specialties focus on community and public health; environmental health of children; and cultural diversity and health. Dr. McBride has been a visiting faculty member at Morehouse Medical College, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. Dr. McBride is the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation--Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. His project focuses on policy formulation and health care interventions involving disasters and environmental crisis among needy minorities in US cities. He is the author of numerous books and articles. Among his books are Bioterrorism: The History of a Crisis in American Society, 2 volumes (edited, 2003): From TB to AIDS (SUNY Press, 1991); and Integrating the City of Medicine (Temple Univ. Press, 1989). His articles have appeared in journals that include: Social Science & Medicine; Journal of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians; Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law; Bulletin of the History of Medicine; and the New York State Journal of Medicine.
Donna King, Research Associate
Donna King is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at Penn State University in the field of Language, Culture and Society (LCS) with a concentration in Teacher Education and Social Literacy. She is a specialist in critical ethnographic studies, community development and socio-cultural health assessment, and ethnohistorical research. Ms. King also develops local historical preservation projects, youth community service projects, and is a community activist. In relation to health disparities, Ms. King focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of community preparedness, community-based participatory action research, and environmental justice initiatives. She is the project coordinator for the Community Health and Preparedness Project.