Learning Objectives & Activities

Hurricanes - Ideas for Educators of Health Professionals

Below are ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals and may wish to develop learning content or activities related to health impacts of hurricanes. These ideas should be customized based on the learners, their needs, scope of practice, and the educational context.

Options for Learning Objectives:

At the end of the learning activity, the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe how hurricanes impact human health, especially in health systems, clinical, behavioral, social, and public health dimensions, including evacuation and population displacement effects.

  2. State ways in which health professionals can contribute to preparedness for, response to, and recovery from hurricanes given their scope of practice.

  3. Critically analyze the multiple role-based expectations of health professionals in hurricane disasters. Major role categories include:

    • individual

    • family (significant others)

    • organization

    • profession

    • community

  4. Discuss the role of volunteers in the health response to hurricanes.

  5. List environmental health risks associated with hurricanes.

  6. Identify pertinent Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and describe the employment of key resources on the mass care of hurricane displaced populations, with special emphasis on health considerations.

Options for Learning Activities:

  1. Walk through the resources [Resilience Through Learning] online during class and discuss their applicability and utility for the learner.

  2. Lead a class discussion about the health and systems impacts of hurricanes. Possible discussion questions are:

    • Describe the top 3 causes of illness and injury associated with a recent hurricane, such as Hurricane Katrina or Sandy.

    • What are the public health implications of hurricanes?

    • Are there unique behavioral health considerations for hurricane disasters?

    • How do the learners compare and contrast case reports describing health facility evacuation from recent hurricanes?

    • How have population displacements associated with hurricanes affected the health of the evacuees and what are the health system challenges in supporting these populations?

  3. How can you as a health professional, within your scope of practice, contribute to the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from a hurricane?

  4. In the context of a hurricane disaster, consider the following:

    • What do you expect of yourself?

    • What does your family (significant others) expect of you?

    • What does your organization expect of you?

    • What does your profession expect of you?

    • What does the community expect of you?

  5. Invite learners to work in small groups to draft a public service announcement for your county on actions citizens should take to reduce injury and death before hurricane impact, and a separate public service announcement for similar safety actions after hurricane impact.

  6. Focusing on volunteers in hurricane Disasters:

    • Generate a discussion about the role of health professional volunteers in responding to hurricanes. Does this type of disaster pose different challenges for volunteer response?

    • Ask if any of the learners are involved in ESAR-VHP (http://phe.gov/esarvhp/Pages/default.aspx) or Medical Reserve Corps (https://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/HomePage). If so, provide an opportunity for them to describe their involvement. Make links to these programs available to learners.

  7. Invite a member of another health profession or another specialty within your profession to discuss interprofessional coordination and collaboration necessary in response to a hurricane. Discuss barriers to such interprofessional coordination and collaboration.

  8. Divide the class into 4 groups: "Preparedness", "Mitigation", "Response", and "Recovery". Ask group members to list 3 or more actions they would recommend being taken to address the environmental health impacts of hurricanes in their particular disaster phase and share these with the group.

  9. Develop and defend a prioritized list of the top 5 health needs of hurricane displaced populations using domestic and international experience (Red Cross and Sphere Project).