— Volume VIII (2012) —

Integration of Social Determinants of Community Preparedness and Resiliency in 21st Century Emergency Management Planning


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Paul A. Biedrzycki

Paul A. Biedrzycki currently serves as director of disease control and environmental health at the City of Milwaukee Health Department and is active in local, state and federal public health preparedness initiatives. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Department of Homeland Security Naval Postgraduate School, Harvard University National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention North Carolina-Chapel Hill Public Health Leadership Program. He may be contacted at pbiedr@milwaukee.gov.

Raisa Koltun

Raisa Koltun currently serves as associate director of the Wisconsin Center for Health Equity located at the City of Milwaukee Health Department and is involved in policy and systems change around socioeconomic determinants of health. She holds a doctorate in pharmacy and a master degree in public health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently adopted a “whole of community” approach in its strategic planning and response to catastrophic events. However, most traditional emergency preparedness models and practices do not sufficiently consider underlying social conditions and dynamics that are not only predictive of population health but also of behaviors that potentially influence the community resiliency. This is not limited to consideration of public social cohesiveness, health equity, economic conditions, and political capital. These and other “social determinants of community preparedness and resiliency” must thoughtfully be considered in all aspects of emergency management planning in the coming decades. Deeper understanding of community social and economic dynamics will allow for better coordination with other emerging federal agency initiatives and policies. This entails refocusing on language, culture, socio-economic, geographic, and community status to attain true “whole of community” engagement.

Errata: Note 1 corrected August 14, 2012 to read: Barack Obama, Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-8: National Preparedness. (Washington, DC: US Department of Homeland Security, March 30, 2011), http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1215444247124.shtm.

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Biedrzycki, Paul A., and Raisa Koltun. “Integration of Social Determinants of Community Preparedness and Resiliency in 21st Century Emergency Management Planning.” Homeland Security Affairs 8, Article 14 (August 2012)