The conference (August 2012) was a roundtable discussion in which expert participants were asked to focus on likely conditions and challenges on the Long Island Sound 72 hours following a Category 3 hurricane; this format provided regional public health officials with an opportunity to work together to address planning efforts culminating from major hurricanes, with a particular focus on catastrophic flooding, power outages, fallen trees, and the ensuing challenges to the public health system under such conditions.

Dr. David Abramson discussed lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina regarding ways to deal with socially vulnerable populations during major storms. It should also be noted that many recommendations from this conference regarding public health were implemented during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, which struck the region in the following years.

Two online courses, with video featured during this conference, can be accessed for free via our Learning Management System:

  • Sea Level Rise and Flood Risk for Long Island Sound
    Dr. Vivien Gornitz, Special Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, addresses the possibility of unprecedented flooding in the New York City region due to the culminating factors associated with climate change and asserts that sea level rise and storm data need to be better incorporated into state and local plans and strategies for emergency response and evacuation.
  • The Public Health Impacts of a Catastrophic Hurricane and Flooding: Voices from Katrina (Webinar)
    Employing a Hurricane Katrina case study and multiple resources, including voices from senior public health officials from Louisiana and Mississippi, this engaging webinar, presented by Dr. David Abramson, prompts emergency planners to consider critical elements to planning for and responding to large-scale emergency events. He describes findings from an oral history study of Gulf Coast first responders and details the significant differences between the public health and first responders’ command structures, particularly for setting up mortuary services, running shelters, and providing mental health care. Results from post-Katrina guide activities to mitigate the effects of disaster events and to improve community recovery outcomes.