What is health resilience and how can we build it?

Annu Rev Public Health. 2015 Mar 18:36:361-74. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031914-122829. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


Whether a community is in the path of a natural disaster, the target of an act of terror, or simply striving to meet the demands of increasingly dense urban populations, a community resilience paradigm can help communities and individuals not just to mitigate damage and heal, but to thrive. This article discusses experiences from recent, large-scale disasters to explore how community resilience might serve as a sustainable paradigm for organizing public health and medical preparedness, response, and recovery. By strengthening health systems, meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, and promoting organizational competence, social connectedness, and psychological health, community resilience encourages actions that build preparedness, promote strong day-to-day systems, and address the underlying social determinants of health. Thus, community resilience resonates with a wide array of stakeholders, particularly those whose work routinely addresses health, wellness, or societal well-being.

Keywords: disaster; preparedness; public health; recovery; resilience; response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disasters*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Resilience, Psychological