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Community Healthcare Delivery Post-Hurricane Sandy: Lessons from a Mobile Health Unit


In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the North Shore LIJ Health System (NS-LIJ HS) organized and launched its first mobile health unit (MHU) operation to some of New York’s hardest hit communities including Queens County and Long Island, NY. This document describes the initiation, operational strategies, outcomes and challenges of the NS-LIJ HS community relief effort using a MHU. The operation was divided into four phases: (1) community needs assessment, (2) MHU preparation, (3) staff recruitment and (4) program evaluation and feedback. From November 16th through March 21st, 2013 the Health System launched the MHU over 64 days serving 1,160 individuals with an age range of 3 months to 91 years. Vaccination requests were the most commonly encountered issue, and the most common complaint was upper respiratory illness. The MHU is an effective resource for delivering healthcare to displaced individuals in the aftermath of natural disaster. Future directions include the provision of psychosocial services, evaluating strategies for timely retreat of the unit and methods for effective transitions of care.

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We would like to acknowledge Anita Rice, David Saunders and Meghan McDonald for their support and assistance with this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cynthia Lien.

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Lien, C., Raimo, J., Abramowitz, J. et al. Community Healthcare Delivery Post-Hurricane Sandy: Lessons from a Mobile Health Unit. J Community Health 39, 599–605 (2014).

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  • Mobile health unit
  • Healthcare and natural disaster
  • Displaced populations
  • Healthcare delivery and outreach