Abstract: Public health emergency planners can better perform their mission if they develop and maintain effective relationships with community- and faith-based organizations in their jurisdictions. This qualitative study presents six themes that emerged from 20 key informant interviews representing a wide range of American community- and faith-based organizations across different types of jurisdictions, organizational types, and missions. This research seeks to provide local health department public health emergency planners with tools to assess and improve their inter-organizational community relationships. The themes identified address the importance of community engagement, leadership, intergroup dynamics and communication, and resources. Community- and faith-based organizations perceive that they are underutilized or untapped resources with respect to public health emergencies and disasters. One key reason for this is that many public health departments limit their engagement with community- and faith-based organizations to a one-way “push” model for information dissemination, rather than engaging them in other ways or improving their capacity. Beyond a reprioritization of staff time, few other resources would be required. From the perspective of community- and faith-based organizations, the quality of relationships seems to matter more than discrete resources provided by such ties.
Keywords: disasters; public health emergencies; community-based organizations; faith-based organizations; local health departments
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Stajura, M.; Glik, D.; Eisenman, D.; Prelip, M.; Martel, A.; Sammartinova, J. Perspectives of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations about Partnering with Local Health Departments for Disasters. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 2293-2311.
Stajura M, Glik D, Eisenman D, Prelip M, Martel A, Sammartinova J. Perspectives of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations about Partnering with Local Health Departments for Disasters. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2012; 9(7):2293-2311.
Stajura, Michael; Glik, Deborah; Eisenman, David; Prelip, Michael; Martel, Andrea; Sammartinova, Jitka. 2012. "Perspectives of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations about Partnering with Local Health Departments for Disasters." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 9, no. 7: 2293-2311.