Neighborhood and Built Environment

108 - Neighborhood and Built Environment: Preparedness and Disaster Recovery

Monday, July 16
2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Regency Ballroom-Lower Level

Peggy Keller, MPH, CPM-Stay Calm and Be Prepared: Effective Emergency Preparedness Planning in a Senior Village
Alexis Merdjanoff, PhD, MA-Examining the Barriers and Facilitators of Older Adult Disaster Recovery
Jennifer Schroeder, MPH-Building Resiliency in Rural Appalachia for Vulnerable Populations for All Hazards Preparedness
Katie McDeavitt, MPH-Lean On Me Project: Serving a Vulnerable Population for Disaster Preparedness Awareness

Vulnerable populations, including older adults may be at most risk during disasters and emergencies. Developing an emergency preparedness, response, and recovery plan is essential to increasing health and well-being outcomes among vulnerable populations. This session will present the barriers and facilitators of disaster recovery, and explore effective emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts targeting vulnerable populations.
Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff will focus on a study exploring the relationship between exposure to disaster, mediating aspects of housing damage and formal assistance, moderators such as social capital, and health and well-being outcomes among older adults.
Jennifer Schroeder will showcase local public health experience in rural Appalachia (Northwestern North Carolina), by sharing the process of developing an All Inclusive, All Hazards Plan and then doing a mini-table top exercise with a strong focus on supporting older adults during emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts in an incident.
Peggy Keller’s presentation will illustrate essential planning elements, such as, identification of those who may need additional help during emergencies, community engagement, mapping, communication and notification, resource identification and training. Information will help senior villages leverage existing resources and networks to develop an emergency preparedness and response plan that increases self-reliance, independence and community resilience.
Katie McDeavitt’s presentation will examine her community’s the “Lean on Me Project”, an outreach project that develops local preparedness materials. These materials, along with information from state and federal response agencies, are combined into a comprehensive client resource book. Volunteers provide the book during site visits and perform a hazard risk assessment.

Learning Objectives:

Peggy Keller, MPH, CPM

Program Manager
HBS, Inc

Over 25 years experience working in the public health and healthcare sectors. Currently CEO for HealthBest Services, Inc., a consulting firm providing emergency preparedness and community resilience planning, training and support to public and private entities, including Health Care Facilities and Senior Vllages.
Previously served as director for emergency preparedness and community resilience, a senior manager in the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration in the District of Columbia Department of Health. Oversaw health and medical planning for high-profile special events, such as the Presidential Inauguration, Nuclear Summit and other National Special Security Events. Oversaw Medical Counter Measures, Strategic National Stockpile, Medical Reserve Corps and Vulnerable Populations Community and Health Care Coalition. Keller has a background in environmental public health and previously oversaw food safety and security, animal disease prevention, pharmacy regulation and vector control programs in the District of Columbia. Served as Director, Environmental Public Health and State Vet.


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Alexis Merdjanoff, PhD, MA

Clinical Assistant Professor
New York University, College of Global Public Health

Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff is a scholar working at the intersection of public health and sociology. Her work primarily explores how social inequalities shape the impact of disaster on health, recovery, and resilience, particularly for vulnerable populations. She aims to reveal important contextual factors that can propel affected residents on different paths of post-disaster recovery. Her current research considers how exposure to traumatic events influences health over the life course.

As Director of Research for the Population Impact, Recovery and Resilience (PiR2) research program, she is working on several studies, including the longitudinal Katrina@10 Program, and the Sandy Child and Family Health (S-CAFH) Study to answer fundamental questions about improving the health and well-being of populations exposed to disaster. More recently, she has been working on two Zika virus studies: the Zika Risk Salience Study and the Zika Women’s Panel Study.

Dr. Merdjanoff frequently engages in mixed-methods research, including semi-structured in-depth interviewing, focus groups, and survey analysis. Trained as a sociologist, she believes in a holistic approach to answering questions surrounding health, disaster exposure, and recovery.


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Jennifer Schroeder, MPH

Director of Quality Management

Jennifer Schroeder has worked in public health for nearly 10 years. She started out in occupational health and safety, working with carpenters, electricians and riggers in the Theater Industry. She then found a passion for working with vulnerable populations and worked for various clinics. Realizing her interest in public health epidemiology, she completed her Masters of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. Now Jennifer work with a district local health department in rural Appalachia, Northwestern North Carolina. She is specifically interested in the intersection of public health preparedness and vulnerable populations.


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Katie McDeavitt, MPH

Public Health Preparedness Section Chief
Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County

Katie Erin McDeavitt, MPH is the Public Health Preparedness Section Chief in the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County and the Okaloosa-Walton Medical Reserve Corps Director. Katie graduated from Northwest Florida State College with as an EMT and Firefighter I with an Associates in Emergency Management, Bachelors in Project Management for Public Service Management and her Masters of Public Health from Univeristy of West Florida. Prior to public health, Katie was a Fire/EMT. She began her Public Health career as a MRC volunteer. Katie currently serves as the Co-Chair for Regional Domestic Security Task Force Health and Medical Chair and for the Emerald Coast Healthcare Coalition. She is passionate and dedicated to preparedness both in the public health and the all hazards realm. Katie and a dedicated planning team bacame the first MRC in the state of Florida to create a disaster preparedness outreach program focusing on vulnerable populations to increase community resiliency.


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Betsy Rosenfeld, JD

Regional Health Administrator, Region 1 (New England)
US Department of Health and Human Services

Betsy Rosenfeld is the Regional Health Administrator (RHA) for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) for the six New England states. As the chief regional public health official for HHS, she and her team are responsible for a broad portfolio of public health work, including opioid dependence, community health worker (CHW) policy, women’s health, health equity, environmental health and infectious disease. Ms. Rosenfeld serves as the primary liaison for state and local public health officials as they interact with OASH, and her team regularly partners with community based organizations, academic centers and healthcare providers to improve systems of clinical and community care. Ms. Rosenfeld was one of the founding members of the New England Public Health/Managed Care Collaborative and the New England Asthma Regional Council, both of which were models for integrating public health interventions into the mainstream reimbursement system. She has worked in partnership with public and private payers to encourage coverage of upstream preventive interventions as a mechanism for improving quality of care, reducing health care expenditures, improving workplace/school attendance, and strengthening community health outcomes. Ms. Rosenfeld graduated from Harvard College and from Harvard Law School, and has served on numerous non-profit boards and committees.


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108 - Neighborhood and Built Environment: Preparedness and Disaster Recovery

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