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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Building Healthy and Resilient Communities

Our communities are facing a number of threats. It takes contributions from the whole community to prepare for, respond to, and recover effectively from the destructive impacts of emergencies. By working together, communities can become safer, healthier and stronger in the face of disasters.

  • Get to Know your Neighbors:  There are a wide range of things we can do to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity  while making ourselves more resilient in the face of a disaster. Being more connected to each other and to our communities is one great way to build resilience. Get started.  Get to know your neighbors.
  • Be a Bystander Who Doesn't Stand By:  When an emergency happens, whether it is a major disaster or smaller local incident, bystanders are often the first people on the scene and their actions can help protect and save lives. Learn what you can do to be a bystander who doesn’t stand by. 
  • Commit to Serve:  There are many ways that we can serve our communities before, during and after a disaster strikes.   Health professionals have provided lifesaving care and comfort when it was needed most.  Learn about ways that you can serve your community and what opportunities may be right for you.
  • Engage Volunteers:  Volunteers can make great partners in your preparedness efforts.  Learn about four ways that volunteers can contribute to community level disaster risk reduction efforts.
  • Partner with Teens and Youth Organizations:  There are millions of teens between 14 and 18 years old who are dedicated to discovering new skills and pursuing career and life goals. By working with teens on preparedness planning now, volunteer organizations can get valuable partners who bring a fresh perspective to their efforts - it's a win-win. 
  • Increase Cultural Competency:  One way to improve health outcomes is to develop cultural competency within the health care workforce. Cultural competency is a combination of behaviors, attitudes and policies that enable effective work in cross cultural situations. By increasing cultural competency, health care professionals can plan for the services that will be needed after disasters and will be prepared to help the most vulnerable in our communities.
  • Learn to Manage Stress and Better Cope with Adversity:  Following an emergency event, it’s common for individuals and families in and around the affected region to experience distress and anxiety about safety, health, and recovery.  Learn about ways to manage disaster-related stress and take training, such as psychological first aidExit Icon, to be able to help others.
  • Support Science Preparedness:  Science preparedness is a collaborative effort to establish and sustain a scientific research framework that can enable emergency planners, responders and the whole community to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from major public health emergencies.  There are many ways that you can support Science Preparedness, whether you are a public health professional, clinical or scientific researcher, first-responder, research enthusiast, or an individual interested in supporting your community and the advancement of science.

  • This page last reviewed: August 31, 2015