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Cheryl Robertson 300

In times of civil unrest, when medical expertise is needed most, systems of health care buckle under the pressure, leaving civilians without access to care, says U of M nursing professor Cheryl Robertson.

In times of civil unrest, health care systems buckle, U of M expert says

February 28, 2011

In times of civil unrest, when medical expertise is needed most, systems of health care buckle under the pressure, leaving civilians without access to care.

A University of Minnesota expert who can discuss this matter is:

Cheryl Robertson, associate professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Robertson, whose research focus is on developing community-based interventions that promote healthy coping within highly traumatized refugee and internally displaced populations, says government and social upheaval destroys the infrastructure of health systems – making it nearly impossible for communities to continue to access care.

Clinics are unable to get necessary supplies, patients are unable to access facilities and health care providers become targets which educes fear. Care providers become overwhelmed and facilities become overcrowded.

“It’s a domino effect. In times of unrest, internal coping mechanisms create a shift in commitment,” Robertson says. “Health care providers who were once concerned about the well-being of their entire community may have to narrow their focus to their immediate neighborhood, then their family and eventually just themselves.”

To interview Robertson, contact Kelly O’Connor, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-5680 or oconn246@umn.edu; or Emily Jensen, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-9163 or jense888@umn.edu.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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