Developing Capacity for Community Action Planning & Resilience Building

Placement and Training of Community Health Workers in Targeted Communities

CRGC’s seven Community Health Workers, who have been trained and placed in targeted communities impacted by the DWH oil spill to enhance disaster preparedness, improve overall health capacity, and build resilience.

Oil spills can negatively affect the health, social, and economic wellbeing of any local community, but underserved and disadvantaged populations are especially hard-hit. To improve resilience in such areas, CRGC worked with partners from the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center (CRRC) and local stakeholders to identify three communities that could benefit from the efforts of Community Health Workers (CHWs). In 2015-2016, we trained and deployed seven lay CHWs to enhance disaster preparedness, improve overall health and healthcare capacity, and support community resilience efforts. The CHWs are working in community-based organizations and community health clinics in Plaquemines and Lafourche Parishes in Louisiana as well as Mobile County, Alabama.

Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship Program

Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellows, November 2016

When disaster strikes, communities look to leaders to interpret the experience and provide direction for response and recovery. To strengthen local resilience leadership capacity, CRGC, the Institute for Disaster Resilience and Humanitarian Affairs at George Washington University, and the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) at Tulane University launched an innovative new fellowship program: Planning for Resilient Communities.In November 2016, a Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC) led by Louisiana Lt. Governor Nungesser selected 15 Fellows, who were trained to provide a diverse breadth and depth of disaster resilience leadership capacity and coordination across multiple sectors and systems. Fellows comprise of emerging, local leaders representing Louisiana’s five coastal parishes.

What and How Are Fellows Learning?

Fellows are learning to how to help their communities develop plans that strengthen and coordinate the resilience to future disasters such as oil spills. The program structure is developed iteratively in partnership with the LAC.

Modes of Learning

  • Interaction with leading experts: Short lectures and discussions build individual and regional networks of practical and theoretical knowledge.
  • Collaborative exercises: This format seeks to encourage greater collaboration and alliance building among fellows from different parishes and across different sectors and to build a strong network of resilience leaders.
  • Virtual Disaster Resilience Leadership Learning Environment: This online tool facilitates fellow communication, interaction, and networking. It is also helping us produce a Disaster Resilience Leadership Learning program workbook and resource guide that can carry on well beyond the life of the project.

Screenshot of Leadership Training Online Course

Related News

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Planning for Resilient Communities: Coastal Louisiana Leaders Gather to Kick-Off Executive Leadership Training

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CRGC Student Featured as GoMRI Scholar

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Keith Nicholls, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the CRRC

University of South Alabama

Keith Nicholls

Keith Nicholls is an associate professor of political science at the University of South Alabama and the associate director of the University of South Alabama Coastal Resource & Resiliency Center.


Michael Blum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the ByWater Institute

Tulane University

Michael Blum's current research applies his understanding of hybridization and adaptive evolution to the study of land use, invasive species, and the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Although he has been involved in research that encompasses a range of freshwater and estuarine biota, he is now pursuing studies of freshwater fishes and coastal marsh plants.