Public Health Disaster Research: Surveying the Field, Defining its Future

Disaster medicine and public health preparedness are commonly perceived as subfields of the larger fields of medicine and public health rather than being recognized as an emerging academic field embracing all of the disciplines that contribute to effective disaster response. As such, they serve as appropriate subjects for multidisciplinary work in the social sciences, whether it is a sociological analysis of mass behavior during a disaster, psychological studies of the willingness to work of various workforces, or organizational theory or network analyses applied to ad hoc disaster coalitions. Laboratory sciences and bioinformatics contribute as well to the development of new treatment modalities, medical products, and surveillance technologies. As is true in the broader medical and public health fields, much of the work is empirical and evaluative. In this article, the authors survey the literature in the field and suggest that broader, more ecologically based research is needed.

Disaster Research