Sue Anne Bell of the School of Nursing testified to the Senate Special Committee on Aging during a hearing titled “Inclusive Disaster Management: Improving Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.”
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, Dr. Sue Anne Bell, an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging at a hearing titled, "Inclusive Disaster Management: Improving Preparedness, Response, and Recovery".
Bell is a nurse scientist and family nurse practitioner, with expertise in disaster response, community health and emergency care. Her research focuses broadly on the health effects of disasters, the challenges to healthy aging during and after a disaster, and the consequences of these events on individuals and communities. As a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, she has authored a policy brief discussing the health impacts of weather and climate-related disasters on older adults in the U.S. She also contributed to a U-M National Poll on Healthy Aging report that reviewed older adults’ readiness for an emergency or weather-related disaster.
She offered several recommendations to the Committee. Her testimony highlighted policy considerations to better promote health throughout the disaster management cycle, as well as ways to support readiness and to strengthen the continuity of care for older adults throughout all phases of a disaster.
Senators on the Committee directed questions to Dr. Bell and three other witnesses. Among several topics, the Committee discussed how investing in home- and community-based services can help promote aging-in-place, improving the ability of older adults to remain healthy and safe throughout the phases of a disaster. The Committee also highlighted the need to take a whole-of-community approach to preparing for a disaster, including ensuring that older adults and people with disabilities are properly considered when discussing disaster mitigation planning.
The Committee will use Bell and the other witnesses’ testimony as they consider policies related to how the government prepares for, responds to, and recovers from disasters. A full copy of Dr. Bell’s testimony and a video of the hearing can be found here.
Related: Seniors Are Overlooked In Natural Disaster Preparation/Recovery Says Senate Aging Chair, Forbes, 11/18/21