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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Recovery Work and Resilience in Volunteers and Citizens

SEIU Union Resiliency Coordinators Pilot Program

Applicant Institution:  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Education and Support Fund

In this pilot program, front-line workers in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy were empowered to improve preparedness for emergencies through their local union, at their workplaces, and in their communities. Almost 100 workers were trained as Union Resiliency Coordinators (URCs) to champion resiliency and to help ensure that policies and plans that have been put in place post-Sandy increase resiliency, especially in the areas of training; occupational health and safety; and worker involvement. URCs also worked with local community leaders and organizations to help increase community resilience for future disasters.

This project was funded by the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


Evaluating the Needs, Knowledge, and Health Impacts of Three Worker Populations During and After Super-Storm Sandy

Applicant Institution:  New Jersey Department of Health

Researchers at the New Jersey Department of Health conducted a study to evaluate work-related injuries following Hurricane Sandy. They found that the rate of work-related injuries increased in the high-impact area after the hurricane. Based on timing and type of injury, the most consistent increases were associated with rebuilding and recovery rather than the initial response. Training, communication, personal protective equipment, and team work are of the utmost importance to keep workers safe during storm response and recovery.

This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Impact of Health Department Worker Safety Training on Health Impacts After Sandy

Applicant Institution: New York Medical College

In this study, researchers evaluated physical and mental health outcomes among homeowners who remediated contaminated homes following Hurricane Sandy to learn more about occupational illnesses associated with coastal storm recovery and to determine if safety trainings offered by the NYC Department of Health may have reduced the incidence of illness and injury in this population. Health departments can use the results of this study to better understand what kind of training or services will be most useful to homeowners following a disaster.

This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Assessing and Managing Health Risks from Fugitive Chemicals After Hurricane Sandy 

Applicant Institution:  RAND Corporation

This community-led research project aimed to address community concerns about “fugitive chemicals" - chemical dislodged from nearly industrial sites and dispersed throughout the community via storm waters. Researchers at RAND worked with community groups to assess the probable exposures and possible health concerns associated with such exposures, creating risk profiles. The risk profiles demonstrated the advantages of using simple protective gear and work practices during storm clean up, and illustrate the need to consider “fugitive chemical” risk as part of the community response during future natural disasters.

This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Training Workers in Sandy Recovery

Applicant Institution:  Rutgers University

Researchers at the Rutgers School of Public Health partnered with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health and the World Cares Center to provide health and safety training to over 2,400 workers, volunteers, and community members. The training developed a cadre of prepared workers and volunteers to enhance individual and community resiliency after a disaster strikes. The training addressed issues at various stages of disaster response, including preparing workers for future events, providing hands-on skills for cleaning storm-impacted areas, and providing resiliency training so that workers and volunteers are able to cope with clean-up related stress.

This project was funded by the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


ASPR Collaborative Scientific Research Related to Recovery from Hurricane Sandy: Tree Hazards

Applicant Institution:  Rutgers University School of Public Health and New Jersey Department of Health

This research is ongoing. The project will develop methods for monitoring tree and debris-related injuries, and assess the availability and efficacy of training among tree service workers, residents, and volunteers.

This project was funded by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

  • This page last reviewed: March 10, 2016