Infectious Disease (EBOLA) Management: A Challenge for Public Administration in USA

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Sudha ARLIKATTI, Rabdan Academy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Simon ANDREW, University of North Texas, USA
Orkhan ISMAILOV, University of North Texas, USA
This research examines the challenges for public administrators in tracking and responding to the 2014 Ebola threat in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan region in USA. Data collected from a mixed methods approach including 24 face-to-face interviews with city, county, hospital and university emergency managers, healthcare professionals and epidemiologists in DFW and E-survey data from a similar larger sample of 119 was analyzed. Social Network Analysis was used to map established and ad hoc communication networks between first response organizations. Findings underscore the benefits of bonding networks from longstanding close knitted collaborations between city emergency managers and county health departments in the four big counties in DFW. Simultaneously, the nontraditional ad hoc, spontaneous collaborations between the Texas Department of State Health Services (TXDSHS), the Dallas County Judge’s office, Dallas City Mayor and Dallas County Office of Emergency Management disaster is evidenced. This demonstrates that when faced with an unfamiliar, rapid onset infectious disease (Ebola) event, oftentimes new organizations may occupy a central position to manage scarce resources and information. Despite immediate frustrations and challenges for smaller adjoining cities and county health departments, the timely response is laudable. This research concludes with takeaways for researchers and practitioners on how to effect better infectious disease emergency operations planning and public administration.