The public health implications of Hurricane Sandy are wide-ranging. In the short-term, there are environmental hazards from flooded homes, unsafe standing water and debris. Vulnerable populations, including the elderly and infirm, face their own set of risks, such as supply chain issues for those with chronic conditions in need of medications and continuity of care challenges for hospitalized patients who were evacuated and other medical-needs patients whose records are unavailable or destroyed.
Longer-term issues include the enduring mental health consequences of such a devastating storm, particularly for families displaced from their homes and communities that have been radically altered, disrupted, or destroyed. The storm also underscores the health risks of climate change, which may increase the frequency and force of storms.
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has a number of faculty members engaged in, or with expertise relevant to, the public health implications of the storm. (See recent media coverage with Mailman School faculty.)
Disaster Preparedness and Response – Coordination of response in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is an obvious challenge. Mailman faculty are actively working to ensure clinical and scientific expertise is available to support key "on the ground" priorities.
Mental Health Needs