Friday, 12 June 2015: 11:45 AM
303 (Raleigh Convention Center)
In May 2013, an F5 tornado struck central Oklahoma City. Despite a sophisticated warning system and a history of tornado seasons, 24 individuals lost their lives in that event, 9 of who were of Latino descent. The Spanish speaking community responded to this by partnering with the local Red Cross to develop a campaign to prepare readiness kits but people are still wary of what could happen in the event of another severe tornado season. Latinos are the fastest growing subgroup in the U.S. but little is known about the populations' behavior patterns, social networks or daily lives. Latinos account for just over 9% of Oklahoma population but Oklahoma City has a higher percentage at 17.2%. A multi-disciplinary team of faculty at the University of Oklahoma developed a new course format (Engagement Lab) to explore weather readiness from a policy analysis and community development perspective. The course is titled, Lost in Translation: Severe Weather in Oklahoma Spanish Speaking Communities. The goal was to get students into the community to research what happened during the 2013 tornado and how the community would like to address any of the barriers they faced. In the first semester, students worked with local organizations, policy makers and stakeholders to begin to develop an assessment of what happened in the 2013 tornado and to map resources. Students learned qualitative research methods and conducted a community survey and one-on-one interviews with organizations and stakeholders. Students analyzed the data and presented their findings to community groups and stakeholders. In their final presentation, they argued that there were significant problems with the communication systems and misinformation about resources and public policy. They also found that there were many assets in the community, including extended networks of households that work together to solve problems and community resources. They recommended that the university host a community event to bring together as many community resources and stakeholders to talk about a strategic plan for improving communications about disaster decision making at the household level and how to access resources that are available in the community but misunderstood. The stakeholders and organizations in attendance agreed with the student researchers' findings and encouraged students to continue with their research and community work. The Spring 2015 Lost in Translation engagement lab is working with community partners to host a community event in the Spanish speaking community to build a sense of trust and to continue building the collaboration. This presentation will include data gathered during both semesters of Lost in Translation. Plans for Fall 2015 course research will also be available.
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