Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Community Health Resilience (CHR) is the ability of a community to use its assets to strengthen public health and healthcare systems and to improve the community’s physical, behavioral, and social health to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.
Communities are increasingly complex, and so are the challenges they face. Human-caused and natural disasters are more frequent and costly. Factors like climate change, globalization, and increased urbanization can bring disaster related risks to greater numbers of people.
Addressing these threats calls for an approach that combines what we know about preparing for disasters with what we know about actions that strengthen communities every day. Community resilience focuses on enhancing the day-to-day health and wellbeing of communities to reduce the negative impacts of disasters.
Developing community resilience benefits disaster planners and community members alike. Community resilience expands the traditional preparedness approach by encouraging actions that build preparedness while also promoting strong community systems and addressing the many factors that contribute to health.
Key preparedness activities—such as continuity of operations plans for organizations, reunification plans for families, and compiling disaster kits and resources—continue to be essential, recommended steps to take. A resilience approach adds features like building social connectedness and improving everyday health, wellness, and community systems.
Community resilience is the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.
Health—meaning physical, behavioral, social, and environmental health and wellbeing—is a big part of overall resilience. In many ways, health is a key foundation of resilience because almost everything we do to prepare for disaster and protect infrastructure is ultimately in the interest of preserving human health and welfare. The part of overall community resilience that involves health is called Community Health Resilience.
A resilient community is socially connected and has accessible health systems that are able to withstand disaster and foster community recovery. The community can take collective action after an adverse event because it has developed resources that reduce the impact of major disturbances and help protect people’s health. Resilient communities promote individual and community physical, behavioral, and social health to strengthen their communities for daily, as well as extreme, challenges.
Some considerations, adapted from the National Preparedness and Response Science Board’s Community Health Resilience Recommendations1 are:
Individual health and resilience is important for community resilience because healthy, socially connected, prepared people make for stronger communities that are better able to withstand, manage, and recover from disasters. People should try to:
1National Preparedness and Response Science Board (NPRSB) 2014. Community Health Resilience Recommendations
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