Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning for Public Health and Healthcare: Turning Guidance into Actionable Plans

When disaster hits, we immediately activate response plans to meet the needs of the community. From the first day, we also need to take steps to ensure that we can “build back better.” This is the challenge in recovery planning. How can we re-establish vital services to the community while also improving organizational and community resilience? Pre-disaster recovery planning can help to mitigate the long-term impacts on communities, particularly the most vulnerable. An effective plan will establish partnerships, roles, and key priorities, helping to ensure that post-disaster recovery decisions do not exacerbate health inequities.

Most public health and healthcare institutions have comprehensive and tested response plans. A robust recovery plan links to and complements existing response and mitigation plans. Recovery planning can and should be woven into current plans and benefit from existing partnerships. The DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness has designed a multi-session, interdisciplinary course focusing on pre-disaster recovery planning, both at an organizational and community level. By March 2019, the pilot version of the course will have been delivered twice. The goal of this course is for learners to recognize their role in recovery planning, both within their organization and as a part of the larger public health and healthcare system, and to improve their own recovering planning based on current guidance, emerging research, and best practices.

This session provided an overview of the key elements of a pre-disaster recovery plan, highlighted key planning activities for public health and healthcare organizations, and shared lessons learned from delivering the course to Massachusetts stakeholders. Participants of this session left with foundational information and best practices in recovery planning to enhance their recovery plans and improve essential partnerships in recovery planning.


Mea Allen, MA, M.Ed.
Associate Director for Education & Training

Stacey Kokaram, MPH
Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness

Presentation Materials