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Public Policy and Administration


Bruce Lindsay


Natural disasters disrupt African American communities in the United States and can exacerbate the degree of poverty for individuals within these communities, necessitating greater aid from local, state, and federal governments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of cultural competence in disaster response serving African American communities. This research study focused on emergency manager's comprehension and education of cultural competence, what they recognized to be vital elements of a culturally competent emergency manager, and what the obstacles and components are to bring about the changes to the profession. This study used a qualitative case study design and a theoretical framework based on the Campinha-Bacote model for care for cultural competence. Study data from interviews with 15 emergency manager practitioners and African American disaster survivors were inductively coded and thematically analyzed. The study produced data regarding cultural competence, values, ethics, beliefs, and thought processes of the participants. The findings showed that the emergency managers and survivors had diverging or contrasting beliefs of the emergency managers' cultural competency levels; this difference in perception was the major theme of the study. The study also concluded that implementing the Campinha-Bacote model for Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services, emergency managers dramatically improve disaster response and recovery efforts not only to the African American community but other diverse minority communities as well. This study contributes to positive social change by helping U.S. emergency managers become more culturally competent and better equipped to serve diverse minority communities during a disaster.