About this Research Topic
Enabling rapid public health research during a disaster allows for the real-time collection and analysis of data essential to an effective response. The need for timely collection of data during disasters is necessary to enhance preparedness and public health response efforts. Disaster research should be relevant and meaningful, with the goal of improving response and population health outcomes. The findings from disaster research demonstrate important lessons that can inform future policy decisions and practice related to disaster or emergency mitigation, prevention and community resiliency.
However, the realities of research on disaster or emergency crises are different from other types of empirical academic research, especially among populations that have suffered greatly. Health researchers in the affected areas are often untrained in disaster research; the community, people, and services to be studied are often in disarray; and participants in the affected areas may be overwhelmed by the high number of research investigations or needs assessments that occur. Furthermore, researcher sensitivity to the vulnerability of the populations affected is crucial. For instance, research participants may be at risk of re-traumatization and/or physical harm from talking about their experience. Being aware of the challenges, obstacles, and difficulties associated with this area of inquiry prior to conducting research after a disaster may facilitate sensitive approaches to research and more productive research efforts.
Having rapid funding opportunities that can be flexible to situational needs and quick to deploy is critical to facilitating timely disaster-related health research in times of crisis. In recent years, national research funding bodies such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia have initiated rapid and priority-driven research funding opportunities to study the health effects from the 2016 Alberta wildfires and 2019-20 bush-fire events in Australia respectively. This Research Topic aims to explore research conducted from rapid funding opportunities, how to integrate research into existing response structures; identify critical research needs and priorities; identify obstacles and barriers to disaster research; explore knowledge sharing and exchange approaches for rapid research; and ethical and sensitive approaches to research and meaningful outcomes in a post-disaster environment.
Accepting: Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Methods, Review, Mini Review, Policy and Practice Review, Perspective, General Commentary, and Opinion.
Keywords: Natural disaster, Community response, Research impact, Knowledge translation, Health policy
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