Developing Capacity for Community Action Planning & Resilience Building

CRGC In-Person Preparedness and Resilience Survey

To meet our objectives to help communities across the Gulf Coast to more effectively understand, withstand, and overcome the multiple stressors brought on by disasters like the DWH oil spill, one CRGC project was the in-person survey.

The CRGC in-person survey was a cross-sectional in-person survey carried out by our research team from Tulane University in 2017, led by Dr. Amy Lesen and Dr. Reggie Ferreira. The survey was implemented in the three communities where the Consortium had placed community health workers: the Port Sulphur area in lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana; the Galliano area in lower Lafourche Parish, Louisiana; and the Bayou La Batre area in lower Mobile County, Alabama.

These three communities had initially been chosen for the Community Health Worker Program based on four selection criteria: (a) communities defined by geography; (b) the presence of active and effective community- or faith-based organizations operating in the community; (c) pre-existing relationships between project researchers and community organizations, activists and leaders; and (d) characteristics including resource dependent economies, presence of vulnerable populations, and significant negative impacts from Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 60-minute in-person survey investigated the role of social networks, risk perception, preparedness measures, individual resilience, and demographics as predictors of preparedness and resilience for future hydrocarbon (oil spill) and other disaster events among households in the Gulf of Mexico.

Between June and November 2017, 21 trained data collectors administered the IRB-approved survey (Tulane Institutional Research Board Study #997431) to 326 individuals across all three sites. The data collectors were all Tulane University graduate students and faculty, except for three data collectors in Alabama who were staff of our community partner organization there and administered the survey in Vietnamese.

The survey instrument was a product of cross-disciplinary collaboration between CRGC researchers and featured questions about participants’ social networks, images participants associate with oil spills, past disaster exposure including disasters caused by both natural and technological hazards, oil spill disaster planning and risk perception based on the Protective Action Decision Model (Lindell and Perry 2004, 2012), perceived oil spill consequences, attitudes about job retraining and relocation for work, resilience attributes based on the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (Connor and Davidson 2003; Campbell-Sills and Stein 2007) and participant demographics.

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

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Lead

Amy Lesen, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor

Tulane ByWater Institute

Amy Lesen

Amy E. Lesen is Research Associate Professor at the Tulane ByWater Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans. Lesen works on the coast and in urban estuaries.

Co-Lead

Reggie Ferreira

Assistant Professor

Tulane University, School of Social Work

Reggie Ferreira is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Tulane University. His research interests are in the areas of resilience, social vulnerability and intimate partner violence within a post disaster context. Current projects include social workforce capacity development, post disaster recovery and resilience within the context of disaster.