Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2007


Aging is a global phenomenon. It impacts unequally, with this inequality attributable to such factors as gender, culture, education, socioeconomic status and access to primary and preventive care. Access to care and the quality of that care are significantly impacted by governmental support and regulations. Most elderly live in developed countries; however, for a significant number life is not free of stress and struggle to meet basic needs. Elders in developing countries face even more challenges. Natural and man-made disasters increase the vulnerability of these populations through potential disruption of critical services. Currently there is a paucity of health and social services professionals educationally prepared to meet the various health and illness needs of aging populations. There is also a lack of new and practicing professionals trained for practice in emergency situations. Disasters can, have and will overwhelm existing resources thus requiring effective and efficient responses to emergencies. This paper will address the need for interdisciplinary education in emergency preparedness to assure the safety of aging populations. Arguments will be made for educational initiatives that are competency based, threaded from preparatory to graduate education, intra- and interdisciplinary in design and developed from a standardized curriculum resulting in ongoing dialogue among health and social service disciplines.


Originally published:

Strong, Linda L., Sullivan, Dori Taylor. "Interdisciplinary Education in Emergency Preparedness: Assuring the Safety of Aging Populations." Forum on Public Policy (Summer 2007): 1-23.



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