The role of environmental health in disaster management : an overview and review of barriers and facilitators for action

Eldridge, Deanna & Tenkate, Thomas D. (2006) The role of environmental health in disaster management : an overview and review of barriers and facilitators for action. Reviews on Environmental Health, 21(4), pp. 281-294.

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Environmental health has a significant role to play in all stages of disaster management, from planning through to recovery. The conceptualize-tion of the environmental health role by environmental health practitioners and other disciplines involved with disaster management is the focus of this review. To provide context for this discussion, we present an overview of disasters and disaster management and the public health and environmental health impact of disasters. The literature indicates that the role of environ-mental health in disaster management is not clearly conceptualized, and the following barriers have been identified: the continued emergence of environmental health as a professional discipline, ambiguity about environmental health functions in disasters, limited representation in disaster planning, low visibility and profile of the profession, positioning of environmental health within public health, power and politics within agencies that result in a narrow assignment of the environmental health role, and a top-down approach to disaster management. Australian experience indicates that if environmental health practitioners can overcome such barriers and increase their involvement in disaster manage-ment, then this achievement will raise the profile of the profession and renegotiate the environ-mental health role in disaster management.

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1 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 19584
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: environmental health, disaster management, role, profile
ISSN: 0048-7554
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Freund Publishing House Ltd.
Deposited On: 21 Apr 2009 21:49
Last Modified: 15 May 2012 22:35

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