Rapid Needs Assessment among Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Metro-Denver
Ghosh, T.S.; Patnaik, J.L.; Vogt, R.L.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
January 1, 2007
During September 2005, 3,600 Gulf Coast evacuees arrived in metropolitan Denver, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. To better meet the medical and non-medical needs of this displaced population, a rapid needs assessment was conducted among 106 evacuee households. The assessment identified a large need for prescription medications, with 60.2% of households requiring prescription medications and 38.8% of these households lacking these medications at the time of the survey. The assessment also identified self-reported symptoms consistent with altitude sickness and the region-specific need for education on the effects of Denver's mile-high altitude. Finally, the assessment identified differential needs based on race; non-Hispanic Black households were more likely than non-Hispanic White households to require employment, housing, and dental services. These findings illustrate the importance of conducting rapid needs assessments in displaced populations, to identify unique regional, cultural, and other unanticipated needs, as well as to recognize the needs of specific sub-populations.