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Emergency Preparedness in the Latino Community

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Emergency preparedness in the latino community

  • This presentation will probably involve audience discussion, which will create action items. Use PowerPoint to keep track of these action items during your presentation

  • In Slide Show, click on the right mouse button

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  • Select the “Action Items” tab

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Emergency Preparedness in the Latino Community

Sonia E. Mora, MPH

Latino Health Initiative

Montgomery County, DHHS

Overview of the latino community in mc

Overview of the Latino Community in MC

  • There are 316,257 Latinos living in Maryland (5.7% of total MD population)

  • About 40% (125,354) of the Latino population in MD lives in Montgomery County.

  • Latinos constitute 13.7% of the county’s total population

  • Mostly from Central & South America (67%)

    * 2005 American Community Survey Data

Overview of the latino community in mc1

Overview of the Latino Community in MC

  • Fastest growing population in Montgomery County with a 5% annual growth rate between 2000 and 2005

2005 American Community Survey Data

Characteristics of county latinos

Characteristics of County Latinos

  • Young population

  • Close family/social networks

  • Lowest median income

  • Under educated

  • Limited English Proficiency

  • Lack information about existing resources and services



  • Scarce information on emergency preparedness (EP) knowledge and attitudes in Latinos

  • Racial/ethnic minorities more vulnerable to disasters

  • Need to develop culturally and linguistically competent (EP) interventions

Emergency preparedness pilot project for latinos

Emergency Preparedness Pilot Project for Latinos

Collaborative Effort:

Latino Health Initiative of Montgomery County

Advance Practice Center of Montgomery County

University of Maryland

Funding Provided by:

National Association of County and City Health Officials

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Latino health initiative

Latino Health Initiative

Established in 2000 under the Department of Health and Human Services by the County Executive and Council to develop, implement, and evaluate a plan of action responsive to the health needs of Latinos in Montgomery County.

Latino health initiative1

Latino Health Initiative

  • Comprised of DHHS staff and a Steering Committee of 17 volunteer leaders and experts on Latino health

  • Programs and activities are guided by 7 priority areas outlined in the Blueprint for Latino Health

  • Recognized as a model to effectively reach and serve Latino populations

Latino health initiative2

Latino Health Initiative

Addresses health disparities by using a multifaceted approach to:

  • enhance coordination of efforts;

  • develop culturally and linguistically specific strategies and model programs;

  • provide technical assistance to entities serving Latinos; and

  • advocate for appropriate services, programs and policies.

Advance practice center apc

Advance Practice Center (APC)

As one of eight in the Country, the Montgomery County APC serves a a resource in emergency response by providing assistance to other entities; collecting appropriate tools developed by other local public health agencies in the National Capital area; and developing and disseminating toolkits, technologies, and other materials that have been evaluated and tested in Montgomery County.

Objectives of the project

Objectives of the Project

  • Compile information/assess Latino’s knowledge, perceptions of risk, and preferred and actual sources of information on EP.

  • Develop and test an EP intervention among low-income Latinos

  • Develop culturally appropriate EP materials to be replicated and used in other jurisdictions

Focus groups methods

Focus Groups: Methods

  • Discussion guide developed in Spanish based on literature review

  • Participants included community members (5 groups) and health promoters (1 group) over age 18

  • Participants recruited via LHI staff, entities serving Latinos, and health promoters

  • Sessions conducted by experienced bilingual Latino facilitators

Focus groups results

Focus Groups: Results

  • 51 individuals participated in 6 FGs: 30 women and 15 men (community FG) and 6 women (health promoter FG)

  • 67% of participants were from Central and South America

  • 65% had been in the US less than 6 years and 27% had been in the US more than 6 years

Focus groups results1

Focus Groups: Results

  • Participants had difficulty defining “emergency”

  • Wide range of perceived personal emergency risks

  • Few participants reported receiving information on EP

  • Concern with government’s readiness

  • Most participants did not have an EP plan

  • Immigration identified as a current emergency

Focus groups results2

Focus Groups: Results

Reported most trusted sources of information:

  • Fire fighters and police

  • Red Cross

  • Someone who is well trained with charisma

  • Doctors

  • Community leaders

  • TV & Radio

  • Spanish language newspapers

Focus groups results3

Focus Groups: Results

Reported preferences for receiving information:

  • Courses or seminars

  • TV or radio programs

  • Pamphlets, flyers, or manuals

  • Participating in simulations or


Focus groups results4

Focus Groups: Results

Reported messages to communicate to the Latino community:

  • Be calm (calma)

  • Be alert (esten atentos)

  • Be united (esten unidos)

  • Act (actuar)

  • Keep important telephone numbers handy and prepare

  • Prepare for an emergency



  • Latinos are a key population to target regarding EP

  • The matter of relative risk in comparison with other priority issues faced by the community should be taken into consideration

  • Consistent and unified messages should be delivered through credible sources

  • Current immigration climate needs to be acknowledge when reaching the Latino community

Ep efforts in the latino community of mc

EP Efforts in the Latino Community of MC

  • Developed an implementation plan using health promoters (HP)

  • Developed a (HP) Spanish- language training curriculum

  • Pilot Tested an intervention in two Latino communities

Health promoter curriculum

Health Promoter Curriculum

  • Basic information on public health emergencies and actions to take to prepare for an emergency

  • Outreach, community engagement techniques, and use of educational materials

  • Outlines specific knowledge and skills learning objectives, training content and methods

  • Includes simple record keeping tool

Emergency preparedness in the latino community

Emergency Preparedness Education for the Latino Community Conducted by Health Promoters: A Mini Pilot Project

Presented by:

Mercedes Moore, RN

Vias de la Salud Health Promoter Program

Latino Health Initiative

Vias de la salud background

Vias de la Salud: Background

  • Promote healthy behaviors

  • Facilitate access to services

  • Low-income Latinos

Vias de la salud the promotoras

Vias de la Salud: The Promotoras

  • Volunteer lay health educators

  • Grassroots community members

  • Trained

The pilot intervention

The Pilot Intervention

  • October 2007 – January 2008

  • October: Six Vias promoters trained

  • Draft Spanish-language curriculum

The intervention community educational sessions

The Intervention: Community Educational Sessions

  • Two sites: school & community center

  • Three educational sessions each site

  • About 20 participants each site

  • Culturally competent practices to reduce barriers

The intervention content

The Intervention: Content

  • What is an emergency: public vs personal/family

  • Three steps to emergency preparedness

    • Initiate a conversation

    • Make a plan

    • Prepare emergency supply kit: 9 items

Step one have a conversation

Step One: Have a Conversation

  • Why prepare

  • Contacts

  • Where to meet

  • Where to shelter

  • What to do

Step two make a plan

Step Two: Make a Plan

  • Personal information

  • Local contact

  • Out-of-state contact

  • Nearest relative

  • Pets

  • Meeting places

Step three prepare a kit

Step Three: Prepare a Kit

  • 9 essential items

    • Water

    • Food

    • Clothing

    • Medications

    • Flashlight & batteries

    • Manual can opener

    • Radio

    • Personal hygiene

    • First aid

Have a conversation

Have a Conversation

Make a plan

Make a Plan

Prepare a kit

Prepare a Kit

9 essential items

9 Essential Items

Assessment methodology

Assessment Methodology

  • Effects on Participant Attitudes & Practices: Pre-post Design

    • 7 questions: attitudes & practices

    • Pre-test: 1st session

    • Post-test: after 2nd session

    • Post-test 2: after 3rd session

  • Effects on Promoters’ Knowledge, Attitudes & Practices: Pre-post

  • Qualitative Data

Results participant feelings about family preparedness

Results: Participant Feelings about Family Preparedness

Results participant preparedness practices

Results: Participant Preparedness Practices

Results other reported items in supply kit

Results: Other Reported Items in Supply Kit

Results participant knowledge of school emergency plans

Results: Participant Knowledge of School Emergency Plans

Results participant opinions of sessions

Results: Participant Opinions of Sessions

  • “Excellent.” “Perfect.” “Very good.” “Very interesting. Very important.”

  • “Very well explained and very easy to understand.” “They motivate us to prepare for an emergency.”

  • “Everything was very clear. Moreover, we put it into practice.”

  • “Thank you for the information in Spanish.”

  • “Continue with these sessions because I think there are a lot of people like us who didn’t know how to react in the event of an emergency.”

Factors contributing to success

Factors Contributing to Success

  • Carefully designed culturally & linguistically competent intervention

  • Limited number of key messages

  • Collaboration with trusted agencies

  • Incentives?

  • Skills, talents, enthusiasm, experience of promoters

  • Community trust in promoters



  • Training curriculum & accompanying materials facilitate replication in other sites.

  • Careful attention to building relationships with community & nurturing promoters

Emergency preparedness in the latino community

For More Information about the Latino Tool Kit visit

or contact

Kay Aaby at

[email protected]

For information about the Latino Health Initiative visit

or contact

[email protected]

[email protected]

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