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Mal Kennedy

MPH Health Services, Class of 2018

What is your research topic?

My research revolves around the idea that we can capitalize upon the disaster recovery process to build back communities in ways that are conducive to improving long-term health and the ability to mitigate and recovery future disasters. I conducted interviews with local health departments in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to assess the extent to which they are incorporating public health considerations into their communities' recovery processes and activities.

Who did you partner with to conduct your research?

We worked with public health practice and academic partners based in Texas to refine the data collection instruments and contextualize the public health landscape in Texas.

What was the geographical focus of your research?

Texas

How can the findings of your research impact or inform resilience to extreme events?

My research will help identify barriers, gaps, and missed opportunities in disaster recovery planning and implementation that undermine communities' abilities to build healthier communities. The hope is that this research will shed light on the need to address these barriers, gaps, and missed opportunities--potentially by providing additional resources, technical assistance, and support to these communities.

What have you learned from working on this project? How will it inform your future work and career?

I have learned about the emerging field of disaster recovery, as well as opportunities to leverage interdisciplinary partnerships and previously developed public health products in order to strengthen a community's ability to mitigate and recover from future disasters. I hope to pursue a career in emergency preparedness after graduation, and the insights about the field I have gleaned through my research will be invaluable for that purpose.

Related publications/accepted presentations

Poster: Kennedy M. Building back better: Understanding how health considerations are incorporated into local post-disaster recovery implementation. To be presented at the 2018 Preparedness Summit, April, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia & the Washington State Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference, May, 2018 in Olympia, Washington.