Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Community Resilience and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grants: Exploratory Analysis of New York State

Saturday, November 14, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Lucila M Zamboni, University at Albany - SUNY; blank and Erika G. Martin, University at Albany
Overview. Since 2002 the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement (CDC) has distributed $ 9 billion across the country to enhance public health emergency preparedness. In 2014 New York received approximately $39 million half of which was allocated to New York City. The rest was allocated to the rest of the counties in the state through a population based formula. As they are designed to enhance emergency preparedness capabilities both at the infrastructure and the institutional levels these grants have an indirect impact on the development of community resilience. The following paper explores the association between the expenditures of these grants and the counties’ level of community resilience measured through an adaptation of the disaster resilience indicators developed by Cutter et. al. and examines the geographic distribution of this association and other variables of interest (i.e. index and sub-indices) using Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA).

Data. Index’s data was collected for all counties in New York State. However, New York City and its associated counties (i.e. Bronx, Queens, Kings and Richmond) were excluded from the analysis for two reasons. First, the public health preparedness cooperative agreement has a different line of funding directed specifically for NYC which is not administrated by New York State Department of Health. Secondly, NYC and its associated counties showed to be extreme outliers. Thirty-one variables compose the community resilience index. All of them were collected using secondary data sources including data from 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012), the New York State Bureau of Elections, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Association of Religion Data Archives. The number of presidential disaster declarations in the state of New York between 2000 and 2014 was collected through the Federal Emergency Management Agency data feed.

Population: Fifty-seven counties in New York State. –Excluding New York City-

Preliminary results. First, geographic representation of results for the variables of interest allowed the identification of Hamilton County as a special case and this was confirmed by the Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis. It is interesting to see that the county with the highest level of community resilience has the highest level of DOH grant expenditure per individual but has the lowest percentage of total expenditure, only 50% of its total allocating. However, this article demonstrates that this is due to its population characteristics. Furthermore, these results show that there is a need for further analysis of the allocation criteria for the grant as number of individuals appears to be a less efficient criteria than considering for example population density. This (i.e. population density) could be a better criteria as it would differentiate between counties with lower density levels.

Implications for practice. Strengthening emergency capabilities has been a long standing objective for local governments. Developing instruments to monitor and evaluate communities’ capabilities to respond and recover from emergencies opens an opportunity to indirectly monitor the impact of preparedness grants.