Emergency preparedness and vulnerable populations: Lessons learned for education and training


  • Richard Isralowitz, PhD
  • Patricia Findley, DrPH, MSW




emergency preparedness, vulnerable populations, Middle East


First responders, including those addressing mental health and social work needs, should be prepared and trained to respond in times of crises. However, too often such preparation is not taken until after a crisis has occurred. This article describes a cross national working exchange between United States and Israeli academic and human service personnel who engaged in a process to identify the lessons learned from disaster situations. Qualitative analysis of the focus groups identified that the most vulnerable populations, including children, immigrants, the elderly, and those with disabilities need a coordinated preparedness plan and that local efforts tend to be reactive to meet emergency needs. The need to prepare staff and volunteers for disaster response and management was also identified, including curriculum to address stress reactions. This initiative reveals the need for the development of additional education and training projects, as well as preparatory activities, to address the needs of vulnerable people including the elderly, immigrants, children and youth, underserved minority people as well as disaster relief staff and volunteers.

Author Biographies

Richard Isralowitz, PhD

Professor, Spitzer Department of Social Work, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Patricia Findley, DrPH, MSW

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


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How to Cite

Isralowitz, PhD, R., and P. Findley, DrPH, MSW. “Emergency Preparedness and Vulnerable Populations: Lessons Learned for Education and Training”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 7, no. 6, Nov. 2009, pp. 29-34, doi:10.5055/jem.2009.0037.