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Drexel Team Receives CDC Award to Develop Disaster Communications for Children and Youth with Special Needs, Autism Spectrum Disorders

February 9, 2017

Drexel University’s Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication (CPHRC) received a $1.15 Million award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the disaster communication needs of children and youth with special health care needs and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Esther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP, associate professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, will lead the project, in collaboration with Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH), Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, with the Drexel College of Medicine and DSPH, Jennifer Plumb, DSW, LSW, at the AJ Drexel Autism Institute, as well as the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The project will use surveys, interviews and focus groups with families, providers, and other key stakeholders, to understand what these high-risk communities need to know to improve their outcomes after emergencies and disasters that threaten their health they most want to receive information. The team will then develop communication toolkits, guidelines and message templates that address needs identified from the research, in preferred formats and for preferred communication channels.