Session: Advancing Research Discourse on Social Work Disaster Research: Addressing Racial and Economic Inequality (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

255 Advancing Research Discourse on Social Work Disaster Research: Addressing Racial and Economic Inequality

Saturday, January 18, 2020: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Liberty Ballroom J, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Sustainable Development, Urbanization, and Environmental Justice (SDU&E)
Symposium Organizer:
Regardt Ferreira, PhD, Tulane University
Charles Figley, PhD, Tulane University
Globally, there has been a significant increase in disasters. The associated impact generates social and economic hardship, loss of employment, dissolution of personal relationships, and the long-term decline of physical and mental health. The disruptive effects of disasters on communities have become increasingly long-term and long lasting. Socially created vulnerabilities are largely ignored within disaster research literature since social vulnerability is hard to measure and is partially a product of social inequalities (X, 2013). The concept of social vulnerability has gained extensive use in social work scholarship and practice, yet definitions, measures and uses of social vulnerability in the context of disasters remain complex and multifaceted.

Social work disaster research has largely focused on qualitative assessment methodologies rather than on quantitative risk modeling. In part, due to the complex nature of people, social structures, and culture, it is also due to the multi-disciplinary approach that is required to undertake such research. No single investigation into vulnerability indicators can provide a holistic and comprehensive assessment. However, there are aspects of vulnerability that can be explored and represented through the development and application of quantitative vulnerability indicators Given the complexities of disasters and the intersection of racial and economic inequality within a disaster context, it is imperative that social work scholars and practitioners be at the forefront of critical discourse about disaster resilience theory and practice.

Social work scholars can offer valuable insight into problems of definition and conceptual measurement as well as the ways in which social vulnerability is interpreted within a cultural context. The proposed symposium offers four papers that present research utilizing social vulnerability concepts within a domain of disasters, with the purpose to critically engage with and enhance definitions of theoretical constructs as well as uses of vulnerability concepts in practice.

In paper 1 Patel and Ferreira investigated the role of social networks, risk perceptions, preparedness measures, individual resilience, and social vulnerability as predictors of preparedness and resilience amongst Vietnamese and Non-Vietnamese Individuals exposed to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In paper 2 Leytham Powell, Scott, Suarez and Morales present research that examines the long-term impact of a mental health intervention designed for care providers during the post Maria recovery. In paper 3 Hansel et al. investigated long term recovery and effects of disaster, traumatic experiences, demographics and family concerns on youth well-being post Hurricane Katrina. Paper 4 Francois evaluates access to quality, integrated and sustainable community-based primary care at community health centers (CHCs) serving vulnerable Gulf South communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

These four papers and moderated discussion offer a timely opportunity for social work scholars to engage in a critical consideration of the role of social vulnerability in both research and practice; the complexity of defining social vulnerability concepts in a disaster context; and an expanded understanding of the role of social vulnerability at both micro and macro levels.

* noted as presenting author
Resilience As a Predictor of Inequality Among Vietnamese and Nonvietnamese Individuals Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Megha Patel, MSW, Tulane University; Regardt Ferreira, PhD, University of the Free State
The Disparate Impact of Hurricane Maria: An Examination of Economic Disparities Among Survivors
Tara Leytham Powell, PhD, MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Jennifer Scott, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge; Alexia Suarez, Americares; Ivelisse Morales, Americares
Social Disparities in Youth Following Disaster: The Unfair Burden of Cumulative Trauma and Prolonged Recovery
Tonya Hansel, PhD, MSW, Tulane University; Howard Osofsky, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; Joy Osofsky, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
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