Responses of a vulnerable Hispanic population in New Jersey to Hurricane Sandy: Access to care, medical needs, concerns, and ecological ratings

Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld, Taryn Pittfield, Christian Jeitner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent increases in hurricanes led to a need to evaluate access to medical care, medical needs, and personal and community impact on vulnerable populations, particularly elderly, low income, and minority communities. This investigation examined (1) access to care, (2) interruptions in medical services, (3) personal impact from Hurricane Sandy, and (4) agreement with ecological statements related to storms, flooding, and damages in Hispanic/Latino patients receiving health care at Federally Qualified Health Centers in New Jersey. Only 10% of 335 Hispanic interviewees were US born. Self-identified personal impact was a better indicator of effects from Sandy, health center use, and medical issues, than community impact rating. Respondents who provided a high personal impact rating were more likely to have evacuated, had longer power outage, were more likely to need medical care, displayed more trouble getting to centers, and exhibited more medical interruptions during Sandy. A higher % respondents who evacuated, needed the center, had trouble getting there, and had more “medical need” than those who did not evacuate. The greatest impacts were on respondents who were told to evacuate before the storm, but did not (46% had “medical need”). The respondents had high agreement ratings for “storms are due to climate change,” followed by “frequent and stronger storms will come more often,” “flooding is due to sea level rise,” and “changing climate is due mainly to human activity and not natural causes”. These ratings may aid public policymakers and planners in developing resiliency strategies for vulnerable coastal communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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