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University of Tennessee nursing professors aim to prepare Appalachian region for the worst
Date:9/3/2013

In Clay County, Kentucky, clean water is hard to come by. If a tornado hit the area, shelter and medical treatment also would be hard to find.

A group of faculty members and students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is trying to change this situation.

Nursing professors in the Global Disaster Nursing program are working with architecture and environmental engineering professors, law enforcement professionals, graduate students and Clay County community partners to improve the area's community wellness and disaster preparedness.

The project is made possible through a $1.5 million grant over three years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Through a constant flow of communication between the project group and community members, the group will identify, evaluate and address the health and disaster readiness needs of Clay County.

"This project launches a new nursing model for the nation," said College of Nursing Dean Victoria Niederhauser. "What makes it truly unique is that it brings together disciplines that rarely work together and integrates the varied skills with planning and knowledge sharing with community members."

Clay County is an isolated area ranked 119th out of 120 Kentucky counties on major health indicators. The population is ill-equipped to deal with a disaster because of unsafe housing, insufficient shelter, inadequate sanitation, limited public resources, poverty, and lack of disaster education and essential reserves of food and water.

"The link between wellness and the capacity of communities to recover from disaster is clear," said Susan Speraw, the project lead and coordinator of UT's Global Disaster Nursing graduate program. "With Clay County partners as members of the team, this project can result in significant positive change and increase the community's ability to be resilient in the face of
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Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

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