Baltimore Emergency Application for Response (BEAR)Joel Gittelsohn2020-03-10T17:22:06-07:00
Baltimore Emergency Application for Response (BEAR)
Identifying Technology-Based Strategies to Create Low-Income Urban Resiliency Hub Networks to Improve Disaster Resilience and Food Security in Baltimore City.
Partner larger food pantries/Resiliency Hubs with smaller food pantries with fewer resources to create emergency response networks that enhance access to healthy foods.
Validate Veggie Meter as an objective tool to quickly assess improvement in food safety networks with serum retinol measures, dietary assessment tools, and with food security measures.
Create and pilot a smartphone application to send feedback to the Maryland Food Bank and to Baltimore City emergency planners on the current inventory of participating Resiliency Hubs and food pantries and to notify these community organizations to coordinate an emergency response.
Most food retailers affected by the 2015 Baltimore Uprising were located in food deserts with low healthy food availability and low household income.1
Communities with low household income and fewer resources are more vulnerable to the destructive effects of emergencies.
Low-income households in Baltimore City that utilize food pantries have low access to fresh, healthful options.
Baltimore City’s food resilience plan for emergency situations seems to be unclear.
Food pantries and Resiliency Hubs in the city can be part of an emergency response.
These community organizations have limited resources and low self-efficacy to respond to emergency situations (either as first response or during recovery).
We lack simple, quick, objective ways to assess how well food pantries improve clients’ food insecurity.
1 Biehl, E., Buzogany, S., Huang, A., Chodur, G., & Neff, R. (2017). Baltimore Food System Resilience Advisory Report. Retrieved from Baltimore Resilience Report (pdf)
Baltimore Needs Better Emergency Preparedness
A network where:
Baltimore City emergency response agencies can communicate with the Maryland Food Bank and other non-profits to coordinate first response and recovery efforts
A system that identifies and tracks (over time) the most vulnerable residents, such as food insecure children and older adults
Food pantries and Resiliency Hubs can directly communicate with Maryland Food Bank staff; share resources (volunteers, vehicles, storage facilities) and best practices with other community organizations
Reliable and equitable healthy food availability:
Even when city transit is down
Equipped to accommodate special dietary needs
Greater coordination between organizations:
During the Freddie Gray uprising in 2015, lack of coordination and communication left non-profits unable to get food to those who needed it most
Better understanding of current emergency resources and/or lack of resources
BEAR (Baltimore Emergency Application for Response) will be a smartphone application that:
Sends data to Baltimore City emergency response agencies and the Maryland Food Bank on the current inventory and client needs of food pantries and Resilience Hubs
Allows Baltimore City emergency response agencies to send notifications to Maryland Food Bank staff, food pantries and Resilience Hubs during emergencies to coordinate efforts in a specific neighborhood
Connects food pantries and Resilience Hubs to other similar organizations in their area
Provides a communication platform with Maryland Food Bank
Tracks client fruit/vegetable consumption via Veggie Meter, households food insecurity via USDA’s Household Food Security Survey, and self-reported dietary needs
Has a social network/connectivity function to help create relationships between community organizations
Outlines emergency response guidelines even when offline
Uses redundant communication strategies to provide backup alternatives during emergencies
Can be utilized even when power is out or the phone lines are disconnected, via satellite internet connection
Bengucan Gunen, MSPHResearch Associate, International Health
Bengucan is a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition. She recently received a MSPH degree in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bengucan has been coordinating our team’s work in food pantries since January 2018.
Dr. Joel GittelsohnProfessor in the Center for Human Nutrition and Director of Community Interventions
Dr. Gittelsohn is a professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and Director of Community Interventions in the Global Obesity Prevention Center, in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.