“The Nexus of Emergency Management and Public Health: Public Administration Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic”
Presenter: Dr. Tonya E. Thornton is the Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection at the Global Connective Center
Abstract: Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, but do not impact everyone equally—even in the same jurisdiction. Responding to, coping with, recovering from, and rebuilding after disasters are critical elements necessary for future planning and preparedness activities. Still, there are fundamental questions surrounding ethical challenges and administrative implications. Emergency and crisis management agencies and personnel have an obligation to protect citizens, including responding to public health challenges without discrimination. Yet vulnerable and marginalized groups around the world, including the elderly, immigrants and refugees, women, racial minorities, and the poor, endure higher infection, hospitalization, and death rates. These same populations face greater threats to other human rights abuses and violations than their less vulnerable or marginalized counterparts. As an example, black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the United States (US) face greater risks of severe illness, hospitalization, and death related to COVID-19 (CDC, 2021; Pareek et. al, 2020). Such disparities undermine trust and legitimacy in emergency management efforts and highlight the need for equity-driven approaches to any crisis response.