Posts Tagged ‘Community resilience’

Blog 7 Affordable Care Act Influences

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment

  1. This article explores the various choices the Affordable Care Act gives Americans and which choice influenced their decision the most. For example, it shows that 41% of Americans said that the monetary amount of the premium affected their choice of a plan. The study also showed that 4% of those surveyed had no idea what they were doing. 
  2. The Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, March–May 2015, was conducted by SSRS from March 9, 2015, to May 3, 2015. The survey consisted of 16-minute telephone interviews in English or Spanish and was conducted among a random, nationally representative sample of 4,881 adults, ages 19 to 64, living in the United States. Overall, 2,203 interviews were conducted on landline telephones and 2,678 interviews on cellular phones, including 1,729 with respondents who lived in households with no landline telephone access.
  3. a.) How do these numbers compare to those of private health care providers? b.) How do these numbers compare to other country’s plans?

Blog 5: Community Resilience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Though originally used in physics to describe the capacity of material to return to equilibrium after displacement, resilience is also associated with a community’s ability to quickly return to homeostasis, or to “bounce back” from a collective traumatic experience (disaster) through specific communication strategies, it is called community resilience.

It is essential to understand two things before exploring the communication strategies used to increase community resilience.

1. Know how to interpret community resilience because the meaning of “community” has vast variations. Communities have four interdependent environments (built, natural, social, and economic) and it is through their interdependence they influence one another in complex ways. Norris explains that there are two (somewhat integrated) for community resilience; first, it prevents disaster-related or mental health problems of community members; second, it describes effective organizational behavior and disaster management.

2. Understand resilience as a theory. Resilience is the capacity for successful adaptation in the face of disturbance, stress, or adversity. Resilience is not an outcome or stability, but a process and focused on adaptability.

In his article Norris explains resilience as a strategy by giving five different strategies that relate to the interdependent environments of a community.  I found the most important strategies to increase resilience to be the following:

1. Communities must develop economic resources, reduce risk and resource inequities, and survey areas of greatest social vulnerability. During this needs must be identified and an appropriate approach must be decided upon. The key idea of this strategy is on of equity across areas of a community, it is economic diversity, which increases a community’s ability to withstand unexpected crises.

2. Social capital must be accessible because it is one of the primary resources of any community as it is vital for local members of a community to be engaged in every step of the mitigation process. The focus of this strategy is to build trust. This trust is achieved via interactions that provide individuals with actual assistance in the form of a narrative. This narrative occurs when professionals send out accurate and important information to individuals. This information must be accurate and honest about the dangers/risks and the actions the public must take. As Longstaff said,

“A trusted source of information is the most important resilience asset that any individual or group can have.”

The public is then to assess and address their own individual vulnerabilities to hazards by identifying and investing in their own networks. These professional interventions are meant to emphasize empowerment and procure mobilization for the community’s capabilities. There are parts to social capital:

  • Sense of community: bonding and trust built through shared understandings and connections
  • Placement attachment: an emotional connection to the location
  • Citizen participation: the fundamental element of community resilience where individuals participate in formal organizations because there is structure, organization, and well defined roles

3.  Communities must plan, but also plan for not having a plan. Though it sounds confusing this strategy is simply focused on understanding the inevitable uncertainty that comes along during the aftermath of any disaster. Communities must be flexible and focus on being effective by having trusted information and communication resources that function even when faced with uncertainty. In order to be effective the complexity and uncertainty of the disaster must be acknowledged and there must be rapid decision-making instead of rigid plans.

Further understanding of community resilience as applied to a public health emergency can be seen here in this video: 

Blog #5: Increasing Community Resilience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The word resilience is defined as a process linking a set of adaptive capacities to a positive trajectory of functioning and adaptation after a disturbance.  Since reading that gives me a minor headache, it can be more simply defined as the power or ability to return to an original form after being altered.  So, this is to say, how quickly can a community recuperate after a devastating tornado? Or how much success can an airline have after a plane crashes do to a preventable technicality?  Therefore increasing resilience would increase stability.  According to  the assigned article,

  resilience can be described as a set of networked adaptive capacities.

This involves information and communication, community competency, social capital, and economic development. These include details such as responsible media, skills of infrastructure, community action, flexibility and creativity, perceived social support, sense of community, and fairness of risk and vulnerability to hazards.

Many of the action steps that we have discussed in class are viewed in the reading as ways to increase community resilience. All in all, preventing, reacting, and planning must be taken into consideration in a hazardous situation in order to increase the likelihood of resilience.  Without planning for possible events of crisis, proper techniques and resources will not be at the hands of organization, cities, etc.  Reacting efficiently and activating clear and relative communication immediately after a crisis and in the aftermath of a crisis allows the public and members directly effected to feel that normalcy can once again be achieved.  Finally, taking learned lessons from the hazardous events and acting upon them will help to instill a since of preparedness that will ultimately complete the cycle of resilience.

Applying an example to a situation from the statements above, we can look at the crisis of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Many felt that the

 planning by the government was insufficient and had much to do with the ease in which the terrorists were able to enact their plans. Whether or not this is actually true, the media portrayed it to be so in many situations, and therefore the idea was put in the mind of the public eye. The immediate aftermath of the attacks included a vast amount of reactions to the situation.  The government started to make plans of war, acts of security, public apologies etc. Organizations and media began to spread messages and feelings of community via radio and TV ads, as well as donations and aid to the relief.  In the later aftermath, prevention tactics were enabled throughout the United States, many of which we use still use today.  Airport security was heightened immensely after the attacks, and is still at a much higher level today then it was previously to the attacks.  We are still involved in war a decade later, which has the overall goal to keep us safe and prevent the ability for any other attacks.

From this example as well as all other examples of resilience, it is apparent that a lot of work often must go into creating normalcy after a hazardous event.  While this can be achieved by planning, reactions, and preventative steps, it is important to remember that though resilience is strived for, the community, organization, etc. effected by the event must gain knowledge and grow from it, or the point of resilience would not exist.


Blog 5: Communication Strategies for Resilience

November 7, 2011 1 comment

Resilience occurs when a community or organization “bounces back” from a crisis or disaster.

The 4 major aspects of community resilience are:

  • Economic Development
  • Social Capital
  • Community Competence
  • Information and Communication

Economic Development strategies include fairness and risk of vulnerability to hazards, level and diversity of economic resources, and equity of resource distribution.

Social Capital strategies include received social support, perceived social support, informal ties, organizational linkages and cooperation, citizen participation, and sense of community

Community Competence strategies include community action, flexibility and creativity, and critical reflexion and problem solving.

Information and Communication strategies include narratives, trusted sources of info, skills and infrastructure, and responsible media.

The above strategies are recommended in preparing for and recovering from a crisis. 

Why is resilience so important? 

Communities and organizations need to be able to recover in the aftermath of a crisis.


There are several ways in which resilience can be accomplished.  Resilience can be prepared for before disaster strikes by:

  • Develop economic resources
  • Reduce risk and resource inequities
  • Focus on areas with greatest social vulnerability
  • Create organizational networks and relationships ahead of time
  • Social support interventions

There are many other ways in which communication can occur in order for resilience.  After a crisis, the organization or society should come together.  The more that the entire organization comes together as a whole, the easier it will be for them to bounce back to life before the crisis.

Take the city of Joplin for an example.  They are using several communication efforts in order to return the city to normal.  The Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery Facebook page is used to communicate to people what is being done and what they can do to help in the recovery.  Here is a list of some of the communication strategies for recovering after the Joplin tornado:

  • Communicate with other organizations/businesses to bring in relief efforts
  • Give the community hope by announcing progress in the community
  • Hold community gatherings in which the members can get together
  • Make it clear to the community what can be done in preparation for another tornado

In this video, US Senator Claire McCaskill talks about resilience in Joplin.

These same strategies can be applied in any community recovering from any kind of disaster.  Preparing for a resilient community is so necessary that places even hold events that help people better understand the importance of a resilient community.


Blog 5: Community Resilience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Norris identified 21 definitions of resilience in his article Community Resilience as a Metaphor, Theory, Set of Capacities, and Strategy for Disaster Readiness. I believe that Cole’s definition from 2004 is the best, it defines resilience as…

A community’s capacities, skills, and knowledge that allow it to participate fully in recovery from disasters.

Norris believes that community resilience emerges from economic development, social capital, information and communication, and community competence. This video I found goes into greater detail of what a resilient community looks and sounds like. Communities test their resilience after a disaster and communication is key in trying to get the citizens back into a normal, working groove. Two of the most important things that can get a community back on their feet quickly include having an effective communication system set up already set up and having a communication system that can be trusted.

Having an effective communication infrastructure already set up is key to making sure that a community can bounce back from a disaster quickly. An effective communication structure allows authorities and victims to express important information and relay messages back and forth to each other. With effective communication people can turn a huge disaster into a minor one. It is also important for the community to listen to those with authority so that nobody gets hurt or killed.

Having reliable information is also key in a post disaster community. Without reliable information citizens may not listen to those in charge and those in charge may not have any idea what is going on. In short I believe this quote can summarize this section nicely.

A trusted source of information is the most important resilience asset that any individual or group can have.

There are many different ways to get ahold of people after a disaster, each with their own pros and cons. That is why it is important to tailor your message to different audiences and use a plethora of media types. Everyday revolutions are being made in the way we communicate, it only makes sense that disaster communication evolves as well.




Blog 5: Increasing Community Resilience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Community resilience is a term used to describe how a community can “bend, but not break.” In discussing crisis communication, the term is used to describe how a community can recover after a disaster. After any major disaster it is common for people from all over the nation to come into and help the community, look to hurricane Katrina for an example. Community resilience is how the community survives and adapts in order to recover from the disaster. One way to get a sense of understanding strengthening of community resilience is to reference this figure:

While confusing at first, the chart shows how four primary sets of network resources interact in community resilience. Norris et al state about the figure:

…the network of adaptive capacities that yields community resilience is not a singular condition that can be measured or monitored simply. It is a set of sets with many dynamic attributes and transactional linkages and relationships…

This helps to show that community resilience is not quite as simple as it first appears. When looking at strategies to help increase community resilience, there are five that can help:

  • The communities must develop economic resources and attend to their areas of greatest social vulnerability. The communities must make sure that everyone is taken care of. Resource distribution will be key, and it is often those who need help the most that cannot get it.
  • Local people must be a part of the mitigation process. This ties into the fact that every community is unique. Because of this, people from the community must recognize their areas of greatest vulnerability and plan accordingly.
  • Pre-existing organizational networks and relationships are key to achieving the quickest response to any disaster. Different organizations must understand and trust each other, which is why networks must be set up in advance.
  • Social support is very important. The ability of community members to help each other simply by providing emotional support can help knit the community together to form a cohesive unit.
  • Finally, communities must always have some type of plan, even if that includes not having a plan. They must be flexible enough to adapt to any situation, but in order to do this the other four strategies must be present. By having a plan for not having a plan, community resilience after a disaster can be greatly strengthened.

Of course there are many other strategies that can be used to increase community resilience. Some of these are strategies we have discussed regarding a variety of different crisis communication formats, such as

  • Keep the message short, simple, and concise.
  • The message must be delivered from a trusted source.
  • Repeat the message often using different mediums so that it is thoroughly communicated.

As Norris and company make clear, community resilience is not only extremely important in a time of crisis, but also quite complicated. Communities must work together in a variety of ways in order to make sure they will be able to bounce back when disaster strikes. One thing we have learned about crisis communication is that while a crisis should always be expected, positive communication during a crisis can help save lives, stop further threats, and help a community bounce back from the brink of destruction.

Blog #5: Community Resilience

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

According to Norris and our online reading, an overall disaster readiness strategy is created through the development of four “primary sets of adaptive capacities”. These capacities include, “Economic Development, Social Capital, Information and Communication, and Community Competence.” Now to me, this all looks like a bunch of mumbo jumbo so before we get into the communication techniques aspect of these capacities and how they might be used to create community resilience let’s first define what community resilience is. According to Norris,

“Community resilience is a process linking a network of adaptive capacities (resources with dynamic attributes) to adaptation after a disturbance or diversity.”

OR according to Norris, other individuals have their own way of defining community resilience as well. He references:

My favorite way to define community resilience comes from the document (also pictured in Norris’ work) by Egeland, 1993. They define it as,

“The capacity for successful adaptation, positive functioning, or competence…despite high-risk status, chronic stress, or following prolonged or severe trauma.”

So now with this basic understanding of making a positive recovery from a tragedy we can move on to what communication strategies might be used in doing so. Norris touches on aspects of communication that we have discussed in class in terms of getting a message across. He addresses the importance of correctly relaying correct information, using a trustworthy messenger who reflects the values of the community, and how to relay the information. Norris references September 11, 2001 in identifying strategies for communication. He writes,

“Communication infrastructure is also a valuable resource. On the basis of their experiences in New York  City after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Draper et al. (2006) maintained that it is advantageous for a life-line (or hotline) system to be in place beforehand. These communication systems can be ramped up after the disaster to coordinate and deploy volunteers, and later they provide a central means for the pubic to learn about and access services (see also Norris et al. 2006). Media also can be engaged to publicize available services and educate the public about typical reactions to disaster (e.g., Gist and Stolz 1982; Norris et al. 2006).”

Norris calls attention to the common crisis communication theme of planning beforehand. This helps create order when everything appears to be out of place. Additionally, he references the media as a communication strategy. What better and faster of a way to disperse information than through the media. In class we have discussed television and radio usage but most importantly the use of social media as a communication strategy. Facebook and Twitter are phenomenal means to get a message to the public, and fast.

Now how do all of these add to community resilience? The answer is simple. Through the planning ahead communication strategies not only is restoration much easier to achieve but so is dictating how to restore, what resources are needed, and where to locate them. The strategy of media and more importantly social media enhances these objectives. Additionally, social media can serve as a network to establish advocates in the community, a mean for volunteers to be in the loop, and for those affected by the disaster to find comfort and hope. It is through these strategies that community resilience is able to and can be fully achieved.