Research and Evaluations of the Health Aspects of Disasters, Part I: An Overview
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
AbstractThe ultimate goals of conducting disaster research are to obtain information to: (1) decrease risks that a hazard will produce a disaster; (2) decrease the mortality associated with disasters; (3) decrease the morbidity associated with disasters; and (4) enhance recovery of the affected community. And decrease the risks that a hazard will produce a disaster. Two principal, but inter-related, branches of disaster research are: (1) Epidemiological; and (2) Interventional. Epidemiological
... esearch explores the relationships and occurrences that comprise a disaster from a particular event. Interventional research involves evaluations of interventions, whether they are directed at relief, recovery, hazard mitigation, capacity building, or performance. In response to the need for the discipline of Disaster Health to build its science on data that are generalizeable and comparable, a Disaster Logic Model (DLM) and a set of five Frameworks have been developed to structure the information and research of the health aspects of disasters. These Frameworks consist of the: (1) Conceptual; (2) Temporal; (3) Societal; (4) Relief/Recovery; and (5) Risk-Reduction Frameworks. The Frameworks provide a standardized format for studying and comparing the epidemiology of disasters, and with the addition of the DLM, for evaluating the interventions (responses) provided prior to, during, and following a disaster, especially as they relate to the health status of the people affected by, or at-risk for, a disaster. Critical to all five Frameworks is the inclusion of standardized definitions of the terms. The Conceptual Framework describes the progression of a hazard that becomes anevent, which causes structural damage, which, in turn, results in compromised, decreased, or losses of function(s) (functional damage) that, in turn, produce needs that lead to an emergency or a disaster. The Framework incorporates a cascade of risks that lead from the presence of a hazard to the development of a disaster. Risk is the likelihood that each of the steps leading from a hazard to a disaster will take place, as well as the probabilities of consequences of each of the elements in the Conceptual Framework. The Temporal Framework describes this chronological progression as phases in order of their appearance in time; some may occur concurrently. In order to study and compare the effects of an event on the complex amalgam that constitutes a community, the essential functions of a community have been deconstructed into 13 Societal Systems that comprise the Societal Framework. These diverse, but inter-related, Societal Systems interface with each other through a 14thSystem, Coordination and Control. The DLM can be used to identify the effects, costs, outcomes, and impacts of any intervention. Both the Relief/Recovery and Risk-Reduction Frameworks are based on the DLM. The Relief/Recovery Framework provides the structure necessary to systematically evaluate the processes involved in interventions provided during the Relief or Recovery phases of a disaster. The Risk-Reduction Framework details the processes involved in interventions aimed at mitigating the risk that a hazard will produce a destructive event, and/or in capacity building to augment the resilience of a community to the consequences of such an event.BirnbaumML,DailyEK,O'RourkeAP,LorettiA.Research and evaluations of the health aspects of disasters, part I: an overview.Prehosp Disaster Med.2015;30(5):512–522.