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Disaster preparedness study funded by Walmart grant

The Walmart Foundation has granted $300,000 to the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy to research how well existing disaster management and planning systems in Nevada and Arizona are serving Latinos and Native Americans living in urban areas.

“The ultimate goal of this research is to identify ways to strengthen the preparedness of urban Latino and Native American communities for biological and environmental disasters,” said Alison Cook-Davis, Morrison Institute’s associate director for research. “Existing research shows that disaster preparedness and response planning efforts often do not include representation from communities of color.”

The research will be conducted over nine months from September 2020 through May 2021 and will include extensive engagement with Latinos and Native Americans living in urban areas of Nevada and Arizona. Grant funds will be used to support research, focus groups and public engagement activities.

“The pandemic has shined a light on just how unprepared some communities are to support vulnerable populations during a crisis or disaster,” said Qadira Harris, senior manager, community disaster response and preparedness for Walmart.org. “By funding research that examines COVID-19’s impact on communities of color, the Walmart Foundation hopes the key learnings will empower communities to affect change and seek to improve the systems we all rely on to prepare for and respond to future disasters.”

“Our disaster response systems are too rarely examined from an overall systems perspective and in coordination with housing and public health stakeholders,” said Nancy Brune, executive director of the Guinn Center. “It’s not a coincidence that urban communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change and have been more susceptible to COVID-19. Our community-engaged research framework will help draw the connections across the range of systems that are critical to overall efforts to strengthen preparedness in these communities.”

The Guinn Center and Morrison Institute will launch the project by assembling advisory panels in each state that will help guide and inform community outreach and engagement.

The Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy center that seeks to advance evidence-based policy solutions through data-driven research, public engagement and strategic partnerships. To learn more, visit www.guinncenter.org.

Since 1982, Morrison Institute for Public Policy has used nonpartisan research and analysis to examine critical state and regional issues. A resource of Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Morrison Institute’s research is a catalyst for public dialogue and aims to help improve the quality of life in Arizona. To learn more, visit morrisoninstitute.asu.edu

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