Assessing the Health, Social, and Economic Wellbeing of Gulf Coastal CommunitiesThe Health subteam began its work by conducting a systematic review of published health effects of oil spills and created a dynamic, searchable database of relevant literature. The database provides a clearinghouse for practitioners and researchers searching for relevant papers and reports on oil spill-health impacts. Of the 75 papers reviewed, 38 were published during or after 2010 and related to the DWH oil spill. To learn more, view CRGC’s Overview of the Health Literature Search and Database. To download the searchable database, please visit CRGC’s Resources Page.
What Were Our Findings?
- Medium and Long-Term Effects Need Analysis: Research teams, collecting data less than a year after the DWH oil spill, published in 21 papers. Many of these studies find initial health and social well-being issues emerging after the oil spill, but continued efforts are needed to determine the medium and long-term effects.
- Multi-Organizational and Interdisciplinary Approaches are Valued: Many papers indicate that they are part of larger research efforts, which include multiple research institutions and disciplinary perspectives.
- Vulnerable Populations are Diverse: Researchers have focused on vulnerable populations, including the Vietnamese fishing population, residents seeking mental health treatment, renewable resource communities, women, and children.
- Knowledge Gaps Still Remain: Since the 2010 DWH oil spill, researchers have addressed recommendations in diverse ways, but some gaps still remain. We identified opportunities for research to inform the development of the Survey of Trauma, Resilience, and Opportunity of Neighborhoods in the Gulf (STRONG).
What is the Current Mental Health and Social Wellbeing of Gulf Coastal Residents?We administered the STRONG questionnaire to 2,520 respondents via a random digit dial landline and cell phone survey (April-August, 2016) in the 56 coastal counties and parishes in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The questionnaire included measures of:
- Health: Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health; Trauma History; Healthcare Utilization
- Exposure to the DWH Oil Spill: Clean-Up Activities; Damaged Property; Damaged Commercial Fisheries; Impact to Recreational Activities and/or Diet; Employment in Affected Industries
- Networked Adaptive Capacities: Social Capital; Community Competence; Information and Communication; Economic Development
Does Wellbeing Vary with Reported Exposure or Impact by County/Parish?
What are our Next Steps?Data have been cleaned, post-stratification weights have been created to ensure results are representative of the region, and variables with missing values have been imputed. Analyses are currently underway for multiple peer-reviewed papers on:
- Predictors of mental and behavioral health outcomes, with state-specific estimates.
- Worry about ongoing impacts as a function of recalled exposure and past victimization.
- Communication source preferences and trust in media.
- Impacts of the composition and structure of social networks on resilience.
CRGC director Melissa Finucane participated in the kick-off of a collaborative workshop series, “Regional priority setting for health, social, and economic disruption from spills.” The two-day event took place December 4-5 in Houma, Louisiana. Read more »
Recent news suggests that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will soon be eclipsed by the millions of barrels of oil leaking from the Taylor Energy platform since 2004. The Coast Guard this week ordered Taylor to contain the mess, or face massive fines. But cleanup alone may not fully mitigate the damage and effects may linger, as they did after the Deepwater Horizon spill, writes CRGC director Melissa Finucane. Read more »
CRGC Researchers Present Findings on Exposure to Disasters in the Gulf States and Long-Term Mental and Behavioral Health Outcomes
The Natural Hazards Center, in partnership with the International Research Committee on Disasters (IRCD), and with funding from the National Science Foundation, convened its 2018 Researchers Meeting in Broomfield, Colorado on July 11 and July 12, 2018, which focused on improving rapid reconnaissance research and featured sessions designed to identify pressing research needs, better coordinate researchers and research teams, and improve data collection, sharing, and archiving. This year’s meeting, designed to convene researchers across disciplines, who recently received National Science Foundation RAPID grants, as well as those who have ongoing hazards and disaster related research projects, featured the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities’ (CRGC) recent findings related to exposure to disasters in the Gulf States and long-term mental and behavioral health outcomes. Read more »
Check Out CRGC’s Student Webinar,The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Research, featuring Rajeev Ramchand, Ph.D., a Senior Behavioral Scientist with RAND Corporation, and Michael Blum, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxvile. In this conversation, moderated by CRGC’s Director,Melissa Finucane, Ph.D., a Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist with RAND Corporation, speakers engaged in an interactive discussion to share their experiences working with people in other disciplines on research within and outside their traditional areas of expertise. To view webinar »
To improve disaster resilience in targeted communities that were especially hard-hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, CRGC worked with its partners from the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center (CRRC) to train and deploy seven lay Community Health Workers (CHWs) in community-based organizations and community health clinics in Bayou La Batre, AL, Galliano, LA, and Port Sulphur, LA. CRGC researchers, Keith Nicholls, PhD, Steven J. Picou, PhD, and Selena C. McCord recently published findings on how to better prepare CHWs, who take active roles in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: Training Community Health Workers to Enhance Disaster Resilience. Read more »
CRGC Hosts Student Webinar, The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Research, Featuring Drs. Ramchand and Blum On Jan 25th
CRGC’s upcoming GoMRI student webinar,The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Research, will feature Rajeev Ramchand, Ph.D., a Senior Behavioral Scientist with RAND Corporation, and Michael Blum, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxvile. In this conversation, moderated by CRGC’s Director, Melissa Finucane, Ph.D., a Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist with RAND Corporation, speakers will engage in an interactive discussion to share their experiences working with people in other disciplines on research within and outside their traditional areas of expertise. The webinar will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 2pm – 3pm CST. All students working across GoMRI-funded consortia are invited to join! To register and learn more about the webinar »
With foresight gleaned from its Coastal Master Plan—developed in partnership with RAND—Louisiana understands the need to protect residents who are most vulnerable to flooding. NPR reports that the state has devised a plan to buy their homes, but there isn't money available to pay. Learn more »
Major General Michael Regner (Image provided by DRLA)[/caption] On Saturday, December 2nd, Tulane’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) will welcome Major General Michael Regner, who will present Leadership in Peacetime and Crisis. Major General Regner will discuss topics including: (1) Resiliency in Peacetime and Crisis; (2) Crisis Communication; (3) Casualties – Civilians and Military Members; (4) Humanitarian Assistance and Cultural Awareness; and (5) Designing Your Leadership Philosophy. Learn more»
Check out the latest commentary on The RAND Blog! Director of CRGC, Melissa L. Finucane (@MelissaFinucane), who is a Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist at RAND, discusses the extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season- as well as the range of risks posed by future disasters- and implications on community and infrastructure resilience in the Gulf of Mexico. Learn more»
CRGC’s Drs. Finucane and Nicholls Contribute to National Academies Workshop on Preparing for a Rapid Response to Major Marine Oil Spills: Protecting and Assessing the Health and Well-Being of Communities
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released
Proceedings of the Workshop— in Brief, chronicling the presentations and discussions from Preparing for a Rapid Response to Major Offshore Oil Spills: A Workshop on Research Needs to Protect the Health and Well-Being of Communities. The two-day workshop, which Drs. Finucane and Nicholls participated in Aug 2-3 in Washington D.C., was organized by an ad hoc committee to facilitate cross-sector, transdiciplinary discussions around research needs and other opportunities for improving public health preparedness, response, and protection related to oil spills. Learn more»