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March 7, 2007

Bloomberg Students Help with New Orleans Relief Efforts

View the trip photo gallery.

JHSPH MPH students

Ten Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health students spent their winter break doing demolition work and applying some of their classroom knowledge to real world problems. Funded by the Master of Public Health (MPH) Field Experience Fund, the students traveled to New Orleans, La. in January 2007 to participate in recovery efforts. They lent their skills to short-term relief and long-term recovery efforts in the region and worked with several grassroots and advocacy organizations, including the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Recovery Act Learning Laboratory Foundation (RALLY).

“This applied public health experience provided our group with an opportunity to have direct contact with public health professionals and to contribute in a meaningful way to the New Orleans community, bridging the divide often found between academia and practical, hands-on experience,” said Michael Oldham, an MPH student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

ACORN’s Home Clean-Out Program guts homes for free, a first step necessary for families to return, reducing the cost of rebuilding by $4,000.00. Students cleared debris, demolished sheet-rock and stripped homes down to their frame.

The RALLY Foundation is a research-based organization that evaluates recovery efforts and provides needs assessments for communities in New Orleans. Students administered surveys and participated in focus groups and data analysis.

“Although Hurricane Katrina happened approximately 18 months ago, recovery will take years. The public health implications of a disaster like Katrina are far and wide, and there is still much work to be done,” said Heidi Bramson, a Bloomberg School MPH student. “The skills JHSPH students have are an asset to recovery efforts. I encourage other students to participate in any way they can to the rebuilding of New Orleans.”

Bloomberg School students included Jennifer Allard, Genevieve Birkby, Heidi Bramson, Anna Dolinsky, Amber Harris, Taafoi Kamara, Laura Norris, Michael Oldham, Joel Palmer and Kerry Shannon.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.