With its recent history of natural and man-made disasters, 21st-century America is constantly on heightened disaster alert. Less obvious is that between people's individual plans and large-scale government responses, the public health sector faces a daunting array of tasks to prepare for future events. "Disaster Preparedness: A Health Planning Approach", sponsored by the AHPA, identifies and analyzes these tasks in terms of three distinct stages - pre-event (planning), during the crisis itself (response), and post-event (recovery) - offering a solid framework for providing effective services during traumatic times. An interdisciplinary panel of disaster planning experts and related agencies examines the current state of preparedness, reviews the health effects of disasters, illustrates core readiness skills (e.g., predicting needs, allocating resources, handling turf battles between competing interests), and provides salient examples of familiar and lesser-known events from the US and elsewhere.
Among the topics covered are: Integrating hospitals into community disaster planning; The roles of public health officials, communities, and social networks; Creating and sustaining community-wide preparedness systems; Mental illness and suicidality after Hurricane Katrina; Disaster preparedness for the disabled, institutionalized patients, and other special populations; and Using electronic health records, predictive modeling, the Emergency Preparedness Resource Inventory, and other cutting-edge resources. This combined conceptual/practical focus gives "Disaster Preparedness: A Health Planning Approach" an immediate interest to community health planners and health care administrators, researchers and graduate students in public and community health, and policymakers.
Richard K. Thomas is Vice President of the Health Management Associates, Memphis, TN. He is also Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Thomas is the author of Health Services Planning and Marketing Health Services: A Practitioner's Guide, and several other books on health administration and health marketing published by Springer.