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Journal Article

Citation

Broz D, Levin EC, Mucha AP, Pelzel D, Wong W, Persky VW, Hershow RC. Am. J. Public Health 2009; 99(8): 1496-1504.

Affiliation

University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2009, American Public Health Association)

DOI

10.2105/AJPH.2007.126680

PMID

19197088

PMCID

PMC2707481

Abstract

Objectives. We analyzed the response of the Chicago Department of Public Health with respect to its effectiveness in providing health care to Hurricane Katrina evacuees arriving in the city. Methods. Between September 12 and October 21, 2005, we conducted a real-time qualitative assessment of a medical unit in Chicago's Hurricane Victim Welcome and Relief Center. A semi-structured guide was used to interview 33 emergency responders in an effort to identify key operational successes and failures. Results. The medical unit functioned at a relatively high level, primarily as a result of the flexibility, creativity, and dedication of its staff and the presence of strong leadership. Chronic health care services and prescription refills were the most commonly mentioned services provided, and collaboration with a national pharmacy proved instrumental in reconstructing medication histories. The lack of a comprehensive and well-communicated emergency response plan resulted in several preventable inefficiencies. Conclusions. Our findings highlight the need for improved planning for care of evacuee populations after a major emergency event and the importance of ensuring continuity of care for the most vulnerable. We provide an emergency response preparedness checklist for local public health departments.


Language: en

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