Examining Public Health Workers’ Perceptions Toward Participating in Disaster Recovery After Hurricane Sandy: A Quantitative Assessment

Nicole A. Errett, Carol B. Thompson, Lainie Rutkow, Stephanie Garrity, Kandra Stauss-Riggs, Brian A. Altman, Lauren Walsh, Jeffrey D. Freeman, Ran D. Balicer, Kenneth W. Schor, Daniel J. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We aimed to quantitatively gauge local public health workers’ perceptions toward disaster recovery role expectations among jurisdictions in New Jersey and Maryland affected by Hurricane Sandy. Methods: An online survey was made available in 2014 to all employees in 8 Maryland and New Jersey local health departments whose jurisdictions had been impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The survey included perceptions of their actual disaster recovery involvement across 3 phases: days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years. The survey also queried about their perceptions about future involvement and future available support. Results: Sixty-four percent of the 1047 potential staff responded to the survey (n=669). Across the 3 phases, 72% to 74% of the pre-Hurricane Sandy hires knew their roles in disaster recovery, 73% to 75% indicated confidence in their assigned roles (self-efficacy), and 58% to 63% indicated that their participation made a difference (response efficacy). Of the respondents who did not think it likely that they would be asked to participate in future disaster recovery efforts (n=70), 39% indicated a willingness to participate. Conclusion: The marked gaps identified in local public health workers’ awareness of, sense of efficacy toward, and willingness to participate in disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy represent a significant infrastructural concern of policy and programmatic relevance. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;page 1 of 7)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 4 2016


  • disasters
  • emergency preparedness
  • hurricane
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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