The research team at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP), within the Earth Institute of Columbia University, is focused on understanding and improving how complex systems function and adapt in instances of extreme duress such as disasters. For this reason, we have sought to evaluate the public health system response during Superstorm Sandy in the NYC metro area.

The study’s goals are to:

Superstorm Hospitals(1) Elucidate the role of the local health departments during the emergency disaster response, which demanded participation of local, regional, and federal stakeholders within the context of the larger health system.

(2) Highlight infrastructural, communication, coordination, collaboration facilitators and barriers which local health departments encountered in effecting their prescribed role.

(3) Provide face-to-face and online trainings for the public health workforce.

Results are being gathered using a triangulation approach of: content analysis of after action reports and key in-formant interviews and focus groups with more than 50 regional public health staff and first responders.