The Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded on April 20, 2010, with an estimated release of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reaching more than 950 miles of the gulf coast shoreline in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. As the region moves forward after successful capping ofthe well, critical questions remain about the health impact ofthe oil spill on individuals and communities along the Gulf Coast. In preliminary community-based studies conducted by University of Florida (UF), there was evidence of widespread community disruption and psychosocial problems along the entire coastline, including areas which had minimal or no actual oil intrusion. Our findings emphasize the need for further, ongoing community-based research in this region, looking not only at possible long-term health effects from the oil itself, but also the impact of the spill event on the long-term physical and psychological health of persons living in these communities. To address these concerns, we have formed a consortium of community and academic organizations (the latter including UF, University of West Florida, and University of South Alabama). Work will focus on the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coasts, beginning at Cedar Key, FL, and moving west, providing a gradient of exposure to oil from Deepwater Horizon. Consortium objectives include the following: 1. To monitor the psychological impact of the spill event on individuals across time, and identify predictors of favorable adjustment after environmental trauma (Project 1); 2. To conduct a community-based assessment of social vulnerability and resiliency (Project 2); 3. To evaluate possible sources of ongoing/chronic hydrocarbon exposure, such as seafood (Project 3);and 4. To maintain dialog with the community, and provide key findings related to the above studies back to the community, to assist in the recovery process (Outreach and Dissemination Core).

Public Health Relevance

Work centers around certain key Public Health themes: 1) the idea that the primary impact in technological disasters is often event related, independent of specific direct toxic exposures (in this case, oil);2) the need to understand drivers for individual and community recovery/resiliency, to guide responses in future disaster situations;and 3) the need to address community concerns as a basis for speeding recovery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-J (DW))
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Thompson, Claudia L
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University of Florida
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Mathews, Anne E; Al-Rajhi, Ali; Kane, Andrew S (2018) Validation of a photographic seafood portion guide to assess fish and shrimp intakes. Public Health Nutr 21:896-901
Clarke, Hannah E; Mayer, Brian (2017) Community Recovery Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Toward A Theory of Cultural Resilience. Soc Nat Resour 30:129-144
Bergstrand, Kelly; Mayer, Brian (2017) Transformative Environmental Threats: Behavioral and Attitudinal Change Five Years after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Environ Sociol 3:348-358
Boushey, Carol J; Delp, Edward J; Ahmad, Ziad et al. (2016) Dietary Assessment of domoic acid Exposure: What can be learned from traditional methods and new applications for a technology assisted device. Harmful Algae 57:51-55
Abramson, David M; Grattan, Lynn M; Mayer, Brian et al. (2015) The resilience activation framework: a conceptual model of how access to social resources promotes adaptation and rapid recovery in post-disaster settings. J Behav Health Serv Res 42:42-57
Bergstrand, Kelly; Mayer, Brian; Brumback, Babette et al. (2015) Assessing the Relationship Between Social Vulnerability and Community Resilience to Hazards. Soc Indic Res 122:391-409
Mayer, Brian; Running, Katrina; Bergstrand, Kelly (2015) Compensation and Community Corrosion: Perceived Inequalities, Social Comparisons, and Competition Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Sociol Forum (Randolph N J) 30:369-390
Morris Jr, J Glenn; Grattan, Lynn M; Mayer, Brian M et al. (2013) Psychological responses and resilience of people and communities impacted by the deepwater horizon oil spill. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 124:191-201
Grattan, Lynn M; Roberts, Sparkle; Mahan Jr, William T et al. (2011) The early psychological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Florida and Alabama communities. Environ Health Perspect 119:838-43