Hurricane Sandy: Collection of post-disaster studies published by DMPHP journal
Hurricane Sandy, later to be renamed Superstorm Sandy, made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 29, 2012. Over 1000 miles wide, the storm impacted 24 states, with the greatest impact felt by New Jersey and New York City. The damage and destruction that followed made Sandy the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, whose financial impact was second only to Hurricane Katrina. The damage to buildings and other infrastructures is well documented in the media, but there was less documentation of the impact on public health following the storm.
While natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy cannot be prevented, each event provides learning opportunities that can be used to alleviate the impact of future disasters. However, much of this learning can only take place during the response and recovery phase. As a result, the New York Academy of Medicine quickly convened a group of subject matter expects in November 2012 to identify priority needs for research. Questions like what factors contributed to community resilience, how were health care systems impacted, and what was the effect on at-risk individuals were identified.
In response, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 allocated funding to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to commission research to investigate the many areas of concern following the storm. Funding was channeled through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). From this, 31 initial projects and 13 additional companion projects were funded.
The Guest Editors for this special collection published as the June 2016 Special Issue no. 3 of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness are Michael J Reilly, Center for Disaster Medicine, New York Medical College; Linda C Degutis, The Avielle Foundation; and Stephen S Morse, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, with Eric G Carbone of CDC and Marcienne M Wright of ASPR also contributing an editorial.