Friday, August 15, 2008

Web site encourages taking diversity into account when creating emergency plans

In an emergency, how ready are you to help the diverse groups that live in your community? To be in the know, check out the National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities. It's the first Web site devoted to helping ensure that racially and ethnically diverse populations are prepared for a public health emergency.

The site is focused on collaboration and communication. It's full of great links to important policies, publications, training materials, translated documents and more - everything to help prepare diverse communities for emergencies.

"There's not a one-size-fits-all plan," says Jonathan Purtle, a health policy analyst with the Drexel University School of Public Health's Center for Health Equality, which developed the site with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health. In an emergency, national organizations must rely on local expertise when planning a relief effort - which is where residents and community leaders come in.

Web visitors can access articles on emergency situations such as bioterrorism, natural disasters and disease outbreaks. Articles are posted in a range of languages - from Albanian to Laotian to Yupik.
To stay informed, sign up for the Diversity Preparedness E-Newsletter, which will be issued monthly.

The National Resource Center is a needed site and a great resource, Purtle told APHA's Get Ready campaign, but it's too early to know the benefits. The main goal is to ensure that everyone in our communities is accounted for in our emergency preparedness plans, including those created in our local communities and hometowns. So it's up to all of us to use these resources and work with leaders to make sure we're all prepared.

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