For Instructors - Hudson City

The Case of Hudson City: An Urban Community Affected by Disaster

This is community case, with multi-level client systems. Please familiarize yourself with the case files which describe the features of the community (population size and composition), the presenting problem (the immediate aftermath of a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour) and the social worker’s role.

The social worker also resides in the community who has been tasked with finding workable solutions to a variety of problems with diverse clients systems.

A sociogram, a companion tool with the interaction matrix has been developed. Although the interaction matrix provides more detail about the nature of the relationships, the sociogram invites the instructor to talk with students about its use as a visual tool for depicting community relationships.

This case also provides the student with an ecological model of working with individuals and communities affected by disaster.

1. The Phases of Disaster Response Model – Disasters happen in phases and the emotional response differs depending on the phase of the disaster. There are a number of disaster phases that have been identified by mental health professionals. Each of these phases is associated with emotional and behavioral elements, although there is often overlap,this model illustrates the general progression of the disaster effects and reactions on communities from the pre-disaster or warning phase through the reconstruction phase.

2. The Psychological First Aid (PFA) Model – Illustrates some of the intervention activities that you can engage in with, or on behalf of, your client system, to provide basic care, comfort, and support to those during and in the immediate aftermath of disasters. PFA is designed for delivery by mental health and other disaster response workers who provide early assistance to affected communities, children, families and adults.

Students may use these multi-level models to help them think about how to deal with the particular problem within the client system affected by the hurricane? Descriptions of other disaster mental health related tasks are also included in the case files.

In the case file, under the section titled “Your Concerns”, Hurricane Diane, a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, has just released 14 inches of rain, overflowing several rivers, disrupting public transportation and power infrastructure. It has so far killed 190 people, and caused $1.8 billion damage. The city had not been fully prepared for this hurricane, as it has been spared from major hurricane activity in almost 10 years. Later specific details regarding the hurricane damage and flooding are offered along with “Your Goals” section.

There are opportunities for instructors to devise their own activities based on this community case. Theoretical frameworks can inform direct practice interventions, predict or explain human behavior. Community data and national criteria for disaster response and recovery can inform policy decisions at the national or local level. Community assessment and research assignments are easily applicable.

A Note to Instructors about The Hudson City Case
- Spring, 2013

by Michael Cronin, PhD, LCSW
Monmouth University

If you have any questions or comments about this case, please contact me via email at Thanks!