Special Issue "Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Tener Veenema
Website
Guest Editor
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Interests: disaster and public health preparedness; emergency health services; workforce development; catastrophic event planning; radiation/nuclear response
Assoc. Prof. Mary Pat Couig
Website
Guest Editor
College of Nursing, Health Sciences Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
Interests: public health; public health emergency preparedness; health policy; RN transition-to-practice residency programs; Veteran’s health; uniformed services; global health
Prof. Dr. Roberta Lavin
Website
Guest Editor
College of Nursing , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Interests: addresses critical topics in human services; disaster preparedness and public health emergency preparedness; with a focus on implications for policy related to the profession of nursing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Earthquakes, bushfires, floods, toxic chemical and radiation releases, Coronavirus, and MERS—each day, a new hazard creates risk to human health and wellbeing. At a time when disasters and large-scale public health emergencies are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity, it is essential that the breadth and untapped potential of the nursing profession be fully understood. Nursing as a profession represents the largest sector of the global healthcare workforce, and nurses are well recognized and trusted in their communities. Nurses play a critical role in preparedness and response initiatives, including strategic planning, community engagement, health education and promotion, and rapid implementation of interventions safeguarding public health before, during and after disasters, mass casualty events, and infectious disease outbreaks. Nurses deliver first aid, advanced clinical care, lifesaving medication, and assess and triage victims and monitor ongoing physical and mental health needs. Nurses keep hospitals operational and assist with organizational logistics by creating operational response protocols, security measures, and statistical analysis of patient data. Regardless of the type of disaster event or the setting, nurses play a pivotal role in disaster and public health emergency response and need specific knowledge, skills, abilities and a willingness to respond to participate in a timely and appropriate manner to these types of events. Lives can and will be saved and population health outcomes optimized when nurses are ready, willing, and able to respond to these devastating events.

Prof. Dr. Tener Veenema
Assoc. Prof. Mary Pat Couig
Prof. Dr. Roberta Lavin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Disaster
  • Public health emergency
  • Readiness
  • Response
  • Crisis standards for care
  • Nurses

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Bivariate Joint Spatial Modeling to Identify Shared Risk Patterns of Hypertension and Diabetes in South Africa: Evidence from WHO SAGE South Africa Wave 2
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010359 - 05 Jan 2021
Abstract
Recent studies have suggested the common co-occurrence of hypertension and diabetes in South Africa. Given that hypertension and diabetes are known to share common socio-demographic, anthropometric and lifestyle risk factors, the aim of this study was to jointly model the shared and disease-specific [...] Read more.
Recent studies have suggested the common co-occurrence of hypertension and diabetes in South Africa. Given that hypertension and diabetes are known to share common socio-demographic, anthropometric and lifestyle risk factors, the aim of this study was to jointly model the shared and disease-specific geographical variation of hypertension and diabetes. The current analysis used the Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) South Africa Wave 2 (2014/15) data collected from 2761 participants. Of the 2761 adults (median age = 56 years), 641 (23.2%) had high blood pressure on measurement and 338 (12.3%) reported being diagnosed with diabetes. The shared component has distinct spatial patterns with higher values of odds in the eastern districts of Kwa-Zulu Natal and central Gauteng province. The shared component may represent unmeasured health behavior characteristics or the social determinants of health in our population. Our study further showed how a shared component (latent and unmeasured health behavior characteristics or the social determinants of health) is distributed across South Africa among the older adult population. Further research using similar shared joint models may focus on extending these models for multiple diseases with ecological factors and also incorporating sampling weights in the spatial analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Distribution of Zika Virus and Its Spatially Heterogeneous Relationship with the Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010290 - 02 Jan 2021
Abstract
Infectious diseases have caused some of the most feared plagues and greatly harmed human health. However, despite the qualitative understanding that the occurrence and diffusion of infectious disease is related to the environment, the quantitative relations are unknown for many diseases. Zika virus [...] Read more.
Infectious diseases have caused some of the most feared plagues and greatly harmed human health. However, despite the qualitative understanding that the occurrence and diffusion of infectious disease is related to the environment, the quantitative relations are unknown for many diseases. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus that poses a fatal threat and has spread explosively throughout the world, impacting human health. From a geographical perspective, this study aims to understand the global hotspots of ZIKV as well as the spatially heterogeneous relationship between ZIKV and environmental factors using exploratory special data analysis (ESDA) model. A geographically weighted regression (GWR) model was used to analyze the influence of the dominant environmental factors on the spread of ZIKV at the continental scale. The results indicated that ZIKV transmission had obvious regional and seasonal heterogeneity. Population density, GDP per capita, and landscape fragmentation were the dominant environmental factors affecting the spread of ZIKV, which indicates that social factors had a greater influence than natural factors on the spread of it. As SARS-CoV-2 is spreading globally, this study can provide methodological reference for fighting against the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249528 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The U.S. has merely 4% of the world population, but contains 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Massachusetts has been leading other states in the total number of COVID-19 cases. Racial residential segregation is a fundamental [...] Read more.
The U.S. has merely 4% of the world population, but contains 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Massachusetts has been leading other states in the total number of COVID-19 cases. Racial residential segregation is a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Moreover, disparities of access to health care have a large impact on COVID-19 cases. Thus, this study estimates racial segregation and disparities in testing site access and employs economic, demographic, and transportation variables at the city/town level in Massachusetts. Spatial regression models are applied to evaluate the relationships between COVID-19 incidence rate and related variables. This is the first study to apply spatial analysis methods across neighborhoods in the U.S. to examine the COVID-19 incidence rate. The findings are: (1) Residential segregations of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Black/African Americans have a significantly positive association with COVID-19 incidence rate, indicating the higher susceptibility of COVID-19 infections among minority groups. (2) Non-Hispanic Black/African Americans have the shortest drive time to testing sites, followed by Hispanic, Non-Hispanic Asians, and Non-Hispanic Whites. The drive time to testing sites is significantly negatively associated with the COVID-19 incidence rate, implying the importance of the accessibility of testing sites by all populations. (3) Poverty rate and road density are significant explanatory variables. Importantly, overcrowding represented by more than one person per room is a significant variable found to be positively associated with COVID-19 incidence rate, suggesting the effectiveness of social distancing for reducing infection. (4) Different from the findings of previous studies, the elderly population rate is not statistically significantly correlated with the incidence rate because the elderly population in Massachusetts is less distributed in the hotspot regions of COVID-19 infections. The findings in this study provide useful insights for policymakers to propose new strategies to contain the COVID-19 transmissions in Massachusetts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Psychological Well-Being of Young People Living in Austria and Turkey: A Multicenter Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239111 - 06 Dec 2020
Abstract
Little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and psychological well-being of young people. The aim of this study is to investigate the psychological well-being and changes in the mental-health state of young people living in Austria [...] Read more.
Little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and psychological well-being of young people. The aim of this study is to investigate the psychological well-being and changes in the mental-health state of young people living in Austria and Turkey. By using an anonymous online survey, we recruited 1240 people aged 15–25 years from these two countries. We used the “Psychological General Well-being” and a self-created questionnaire to capture individual experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine period. The native Turks indicated higher “anxiety” (ps < 0.010), lower “vitality” (ps < 0.011), and lower “general health” (ps < 0.011) than native Austrians or Austrian migrants and increased “depression” (p = 0.005) and lower “self-control” (p = 0.022), than Austrian migrants. Moreover, 50.9% of native Turks reported a decrease in their mental health status, compared to 31.1% of native Austrians and 23.7% of Austrian migrants. Participants with financial problems (OR = 1.68) and prior mental health problems (i.e., already in treatment by the time of COVID-19, OR = 5.83) reported a higher probability for a worsening in their mental health status. Our results show that the COVID-19 pandemic impaired the psychological well-being and mental health of young people. Especially people in Turkey were most affected, probably due to the stringent policies to fight COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
Hearing the Voices of Wingless Angels: A Critical Content Analysis of Nurses’ COVID-19 Experiences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228484 - 16 Nov 2020
Abstract
The world has been affected by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Health care workers are among those most at risk of contracting the virus. In the fight against the coronavirus, nurses play a critical role. Still, most social media platforms demonstrate [...] Read more.
The world has been affected by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Health care workers are among those most at risk of contracting the virus. In the fight against the coronavirus, nurses play a critical role. Still, most social media platforms demonstrate that nurses fear that their health is not being prioritized. The purpose of this study is to investigate nurses’ experiences through analyzing the main themes shared on Instagram by nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast with highly structured research, the current paper highlights nurses’ natural language use in describing their experiences during the first months of the outbreak in their workplace. Instagram captions were utilized as a data source. Leximancer was utilized for the content analysis of nurses’ narratives towards their coronavirus experience. We sought to accomplish three research objectives: the first was to identify the main themes in the descriptions of nurses’ experiences shared via their social media, specifically Instagram; then, to determine the relationships among concepts, and finally, to give useful implications based on the findings. The current study uses a qualitative (i.e., narratives) approach to analyze the main components of the nurses’ experiences during the pandemic. The Leximancer software analysis revealed nine major textual themes and the relationships among these themes. In order of the relative importance, the themes were “patients”, “coronavirus”, “exhaustion”, “family”, “hospital”, “personal protective equipment” (PPE), “shift”, “fear”, and “uncertainty”. The results offer practical implications based on the social media information regarding nurses’ overall experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Two Evacuation Shelter Operating Policies and the Role of Public Health Nurses after the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228310 - 10 Nov 2020
Abstract
This study describes shelter operations by public health nurses (PHNs) in Kesennuma City, located near the epicenter of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011. The data were semi-structured interviews with 10 PHNs, 2 nutritionists, and 2 general administrators [...] Read more.
This study describes shelter operations by public health nurses (PHNs) in Kesennuma City, located near the epicenter of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011. The data were semi-structured interviews with 10 PHNs, 2 nutritionists, and 2 general administrators conducted from July 2013 to January 2014. All transcripts were analyzed using the constructivist grounded theory approach. We identified two operating methods for shelters: shelters stationed by PHNs in the Old City, and shelters patrolled by PHNs in the merged district. These methods were compared using four themes. In emergency situations, “operational periods,” a predetermined short term for a leader to perform his/her duties responsibly, could be adopted for relatively small organizations on the frontline. PHNs must not only attempt to operate shelters on their own but also encourage residents to manage the shelters as well. Moreover, human resource allocation should be managed independently of personal factors, as strong relationships between shelter residents would sometimes disturb the flexibility of the response. Even when a situation requires PHNs to stay in shelters, frequent collecting of information and updating the plan according to response progress will help to maintain effective shelter operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessCommunication
Preliminary Study of Sars-Cov-2 Occurrence in Wastewater in the Czech Republic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155508 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
The virus SARS-CoV-2, which has caused the recent COVID-19 pandemic, may be present in the stools of COVID-19 patients. Therefore, we aimed to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the population. Samples of untreated wastewater were collected from 33 wastewater [...] Read more.
The virus SARS-CoV-2, which has caused the recent COVID-19 pandemic, may be present in the stools of COVID-19 patients. Therefore, we aimed to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the population. Samples of untreated wastewater were collected from 33 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) of different sizes within the Czech Republic. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was concentrated from wastewater and viral RNA was determined using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 11.6% of samples and more than 27.3% of WWTPs; in some of them, SARS-CoV-2 was detected repeatedly. Our preliminary results indicate that an epidemiology approach that focuses on the determination of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater could be suitable for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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Open AccessArticle
Quarantine Vehicle Scheduling for Transferring High-Risk Individuals in Epidemic Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2275; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072275 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
In a large-scale epidemic outbreak, there can be many high-risk individuals to be transferred for medical isolation in epidemic areas. Typically, the individuals are scattered across different locations, and available quarantine vehicles are limited. Therefore, it is challenging to efficiently schedule the vehicles [...] Read more.
In a large-scale epidemic outbreak, there can be many high-risk individuals to be transferred for medical isolation in epidemic areas. Typically, the individuals are scattered across different locations, and available quarantine vehicles are limited. Therefore, it is challenging to efficiently schedule the vehicles to transfer the individuals to isolated regions to control the spread of the epidemic. In this paper, we formulate such a quarantine vehicle scheduling problem for high-risk individual transfer, which is more difficult than most well-known vehicle routing problems. To efficiently solve this problem, we propose a hybrid algorithm based on the water wave optimization (WWO) metaheuristic and neighborhood search. The metaheuristic uses a small population to rapidly explore the solution space, and the neighborhood search uses a gradual strategy to improve the solution accuracy. Computational results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm significantly outperforms several existing algorithms and obtains high-quality solutions on real-world problem instances for high-risk individual transfer in Hangzhou, China, during the peak period of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
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