- Kristina Gelardi
- Shani Buggs
- Susan Perez
Research Project Description
Institutional racism and prejudice embedded in traditional systems of police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) may result in direct harm to individuals in need of assistance and indirect harm to communities at large, evidenced by disparate arrest and death rates for people of color, low-income communities, and the unhoused population. Yet, the extent of misalignment within individual jurisdictions between the traditional 911 system and community needs and crises is difficult to quantify due to opaque or inaccessible 911 data and political rhetoric that undermines value-based dialogue.
Our research project aims to answer the question: How can police, fire, and emergency medical services (first response systems) best align with the health and safety needs of individuals from marginalized communities during crises and emergencies? The findings of this multi-method project will be used to inform the development of first response systems that align with community needs, judiciously allocate budgets, and reduce disparities in negative outcomes from first response interactions. The cross-sectional and multi-methods study will include the following:
- analyses of the types of crises first responders respond to, the quality of their interactions, and variability in interaction quality;
- rich conversations with community members exploring the alignment of their individual and collective values with first response services using deliberative qualitative methods; and
- a fiscal impact analysis of first response alternatives in order to illuminate the financial impact of policy solutions.
With this knowledge, community advocates, local elected officials, and first responders can make informed decisions about needed policy change and establish criteria for evaluating implementation. We will use local information and policies implemented to inform our recommendations for statewide policy.
Dr. Kristina Gelardi (Public Health Advocates) has nearly 20 years experience with policy advocacy and research. She provides technical assistance to diverse stakeholders (community members, elected officials, government administrators) to identify community-centered solutions to complex social issues such as first response and child welfare.
Dr. Shani Buggs (University of California, Davis) has over 10 years of experience as a public health researcher in firearm violence and injury prevention, emphasizing health and safety inequities in marginalized and minoritized communities. She has extensive experience using advanced quantitative research methods, including longitudinal analyses, to evaluate policies and interventions addressing firearm violence. She has conducted qualitative research to ensure those disproportionately affected by interpersonal and structural violence are centered in strategies addressing public safety and health equity.
Dr. Susan Perez (California State University, Sacramento) is a health services researcher with expertise in centering patient values in policy solutions. She has developed and conducted statewide deliberative studies addressing complex policy issues in healthcare and community safety, resulting in policy change that reduced overuse of healthcare spending in maternity care in California and re-organization of city social services to enhance safety and create infrastructure for underserved populations.