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.
Megha Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Work with the interdisciplinary City, Culture, and Community program at Tulane University. She has experience managing programs and conducting evaluations in collaboration with community-based organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Megha is contributing to CRGC’s Community Action Planning and Resilience Building efforts.
GoMRI features CRGC grad student, Vanessa Parks, and her work compiling and analyzing data on Gulf Coast communities that explores how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected mental and physical health as well as how social factors contributed to post-disaster health outcomes. Learn more »
Interested in Updates on CRGC’s Work to Help Gulf Coastal Communities Improve Resilience to Future Catastrophic Oil Spills?
Check out the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute’s Summer Newsletter featuring a Q&A with Elizabeth Thornton, who heads up outreach efforts for the Consortium! You’ll hear the latest on how CRGC’s research, outreach, and education activities are helping communities across the Gulf Coast to more effectively understand, withstand, and overcome the multiple stressors brought on by such disasters as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Learn more »
CRGC researchers working on assessing and addressing the economic impacts of the oil spill developed a new resource to assist business owners and employers, researchers, community members, and other stakeholders in locating information on the fisheries and tourism sectors, and on oil spill claims, from a wide variety of potential sources. Check out the Database and User Guide on CRGC’s new Resources page!
Betsy Lopez is a Master of Science candidate in the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University. Betsy also works as the program coordinator of Internships and Experiential Learning at the Newcomb College Institute, where she oversees and develops experiential learning opportunities for students, manages grants and endowments, developed and oversees the alumnae-mentoring program, and coordinates the Kenya summer abroad program.
CRGC is pleased to announce the launch of its new and improved Resources page, now live on the Consortium’s website. CRGC offers an exciting range of resources tailored for academics, community leaders, fishing/seafood industry stakeholders, healthcare providers, and policymakers that span across an array topic areas.
On Thursday, April 13th, CRGC will host its next webinar for students workings across all GoMRI-funded consortia. Women in Science and Research, which will highlight female researchers and provide an opportunity for discussion around women working in science and issues related to gender equity in the field. Learn more »
Local Shipbuilders from Alabama and Louisiana Supply Passenger Vessels for NYC’s New Citywide Ferry Service
The H200, a catamaran passenger vessel built by Horizon Shipbuilding based out of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, began its 1,700-mile voyage to New York City on March 21. The vessel is the first of 13 catamaran passenger vessels Horizon is building for the Big Apple’s new citywide ferry service. By 2018, Horizon, along with Metal Shark – a Louisiana based shipbuilder that recently saw two of its ferries off to NYC – will have built 19 ferries for NYC’s new fleet. Learn more »
Check out the latest edition of GoMRI’s eNews, which keeps researchers, students, community members, and other stakeholders working in the field current on emerging Gulf science and the people investigating the effects of oil spills on the environment and public health. This edition of eNews features, CRGC’s Student Spotlight of Nicholas Thomas, in the Project Activities section! Learn more »
Fellows Participate in 2nd Module of “Planning For Resilient Gulf Communities” Executive Leadership Training
Inaugural cohort of Southeastern Louisiana Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellows participate in second module of “Planning for Resilient Communities” Executive Leadership Training.