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Examining Public Health Workers' Perceptions Toward Response Expectations in Disasters

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An ever-expanding array of disasters and emergent public health threats has raised operationally-relevant research questions about the willingness of public health and other healthcare workers to fulfill organizational expectations in disaster response and recovery. Dr. Daniel Barnett from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues have examined sociological perspectives surrounding perceptual and attitudinal barriers and facilitators toward such willingness among these cohorts. Their findings have yielded novel, behavioral model-based curricular interventions to address these willingness gaps in health organizations. This presentation will accordingly focus on findings from mixed-methods research regarding these workers’ commitment to, and sense of efficacy in the context of, their organizations in the face of disasters and emergent threats to public health and safety. The presentation will include currently unpublished data on health departments workers’ perceptions toward disaster recovery in a variety of Hurricane Sandy-impacted U.S. jurisdictions from the states of Maryland and New Jersey. The presentation will also explicitly address broader organizational behavior-relevant implications of these and related findings for current and future disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts, including in international contexts.

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