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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Reducing Morbidity and Mortality

Impact of Hurricane Sandy on Morbidity and Mortality in New York City

Applicant Institution: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Researchers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene investigated the impact of Hurricane Sandy on mortality, injuries, mental health, and evacuation behaviors in New York City. They found that most injuries and deaths occurred within Evacuation Zone A and were primarily caused by drowning. Within the inundation area, mental health conditions were higher among residents who experienced Hurricane Sandy-related traumatic events such as physical injury, household damage, and displacement. Older adults were less likely to evacuate than younger adults, and people living on higher floors were less likely to evacuate than those living on lower floors. These findings are being used to guide emergency response and preparedness efforts.

Learn more about this project in the following publications:

Brown S, Parton H, Driver C & Norman C. (2016). Evacuation During Hurricane Sandy: Data from a Rapid Community Assessment. PLoS Currents Disasters, 29 Jan 2016. PMID: 26865989.

Hall G, Jessup J, Lim S, Olson D, Seligson AL, HE FT, De La Cruz N, Gwynn C. (2016). Spatial Shifts in the Utilization of Mental Health Services After Hurricane Sandy Among New York City Residents Enrolled in Medicaid. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 420-427. PMID: 27125322.

He FT, De La Cruz NL, Olson D, Lim S, Seligson AL, Hall G, Jessup J & Gwynn C (2016). Temporal and Spatial Patterns in Utilization of Mental Health Services During and After Hurricane Sandy: Emergency Department and Inpatient Hospitalizations in New York City. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness,10(3): 512-517. PMID: 27292172.

Seil K, Spira-Cohen A & Marcum J. (2016). Injury Deaths Related to Hurricane Sandy, New York City, 2012. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 378-385. PMID: 27074115.

Tsai S, Hamby T, Chu A, Gleason JA, Goodrow GM, Gu H, Lifshitz E, & Fagliano JA. (2016). Development and Application of Syndromic Surveillance for Severe Weather Events Following Hurricane Sandy. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 463-471. PMID: 27146906.

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


Assessing Health Effects and Risk Factors After Hurricane Sandy in New York State

Applicant Institution: New York State Department of Health

Researchers at the New York State Department of Health conducted a comprehensive study to understand how Hurricane Sandy impacted mortality and multiple health outcomes of residents in the eight impacted counties during Hurricane Sandy at three intervals: immediately, three months, and one year after the storm. In general, they found significant increased risks of certain mental health outcomes (anxiety and psychosis), injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a lack of access to dialysis immediately after Hurricane Sandy, but no significant increases in hospital admissions due to cardiovascular-respiratory diseases or water/foodborne diseases.

Learn more about this project in the following publications:

Bloom MS, Palumbo J, Saiyed N, Lauper U & Lin S. (2016). Food and Waterborne Disease in the greater New York City Area Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 503-511. PMID: 27181600.

Lauper U, Chen J, & Lin S. (2016). Window of Opportunity for New Disease Surveillance: Developing Keyword Lists for Monitoring Mental Health and Injury Through Syndromic Surveillance. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 11(2): 173-178. PMID: 28430095.

Lin S, Lu Yi, Justino J, Dong G & Lauper U. (2016). What Happened to Our Environment and Mental Health as a Result of Hurricane Sandy? Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 314-319. PMID: 27087495.

Sharp MJ, Sun M, Ledneva T, Lauper U, Pantea C & Lin S. (2016). Effect of Hurricane Sandy on Health Care Services Utilization Under Medicaid. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 472-484. PMID: 27181259.

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


Impacts on Health and Mental Health Post-Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey

Applicant Institution: New Jersey Department of Health

While Hurricane Sandy affected all of New Jersey, it did not affect every location in the same way. In this study, researchers at the New Jersey Department of Health assessed how the extent of Sandy’s impact affected access to medical care, induced psychological stress, and increased exposure to pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ultimately creating adverse effects on health.

Learn more about this project in the following publications:

Davidow AL, Thomas P, Kim S, Passannante M, Tsai S & Tan C. (2016). Access to Care in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey, 2012. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 485-491. PMID: 27292171.

Kim S, Kulkarni PA, Rajan M, Thomas P, Tsai S, Tan C & Davidow A. (2017). Hurricane Sandy (New Jersey): Mortality Rates in the Following Month and Quarter. American Journal of Public Health, 107(8): 1304-1307. PMID: 28640678.

Kulkarni PA, Gu H, Tsai S, Passannante M, Kim S, Thomas PA, Tan CG & Davidow AL. (2017). Evacuations as a Result of Hurricane Sandy: Analysis of the 2014 New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, Epub ahead of print 29 Jun 2017. PMID: 28659220.

Shumate AM, Yard EE, Casey-Lockyer M, Apostolou A, Chan M, Tan C, Noe RS & Wolkin AF. (2015). Effectiveness of Using Cellular Phones to Transmit Real-Time Shelter Morbidity Surveillance Data After Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey, October to November 2012. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 10(3): 525-528. PMID: 26677756.

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

  • This page last reviewed: January 02, 2018