A Mixed Methods Study of Disaster Case Managers on Issues Related to Diversity in Practice with Hurricane Katrina Victims
Increasingly, disasters are affecting large geographical areas that contain diverse populations who experience their aftermath in different ways. Social work case managers can play a critical role in assisting communities to plan and organize around issues of diversity in disaster relief and recovery. Using mixed methods, this study examines disaster recovery case managers working in the state of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. The authors asked the research question “What issues, if any, did disaster recovery case managers encounter when working with people from different cultural backgrounds after Hurricane Katrina?” Participants (N=11) reported experiencing shortcomings in agency preparation, a lack of understanding of ethnic intragroup differences, and challenges when working with elderly and disabled clients. Findings indicate that social work disaster case managers need to develop methods for gaining awareness of diverse populations within their service areas. Implications for future training and preparation are discussed.
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