Impact of public health emergencies on modern disaster taxonomy, planning, and response

Frederick M. Burkle, P. Gregg Greenough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Current disaster taxonomy describes diversity, distinguishing characteristics, and common relations in disaster event classifications. The impact of compromised public health infrastructure and systems on health consequences defines and greatly influences the manner in which disasters are observed, planned for, and managed, especially those that are geographically widespread, population dense, and prolonged. What may first result in direct injuries and death may rapidly change to excess indirect illness and subsequent death as essential public health resources are destroyed, deteriorate, or are systematically denied to vulnerable populations. Public health and public health infrastructure and systems in developed and developing countries must be seen as strategic and security issues that deserve international public health resource monitoring attention from disaster managers, urban planners, the global humanitarian community, World Health Organization authorities, and participating parties to war and conflict. We posit here that disaster frameworks be reformed to emphasize and clarify the relation of public health emergencies and modern disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2:192-199)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Disaster and war mortality and morbidity
  • Disaster classification and taxonomy
  • Disaster planning and management
  • Public health emergencies
  • Public health infrastructure and systems
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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