Population Health

January 30, 2019

UW researcher explores how communities can build back better after a disaster

Image of Nicole ErrettNew research led by Dr. Nicole Errett (pictured), lecturer in the University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, explores how a natural disaster can serve as a catalyst for a community to build back better, healthier and more resilient.

She recently assessed 28 state disaster recovery plans in a research study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and is currently working with local health departments along the Gulf Coast to identify and address challenges faced in disaster recovery planning and implementation.

Another strategy she is investigating is how public health authorities can tap “citizen scientists” to help collect health data before and after a disaster. Errett is also exploring whether anonymous health data collected from personal health monitoring applications or devices like FitBit or Strava can be used to track disaster recovery and measure community efforts to rebuild with public health in mind, a project that is funded by the Population Health Initiative.

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