Meghan McGinty

2013-14 E²SHI Fellow

Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health

Research Focus: Decision-making during environmental disasters

One of the many consequences of climate change includes an increase in extreme weather events.  When natural disasters such as hurricanes strike, public health leaders are faced with complex decisions to ensure the public’s health and safety, as well as to mitigate environmental destruction. A common, crucial decision faced by public health officials is whether to evacuate vulnerable populations or to instruct these populations to “shelter-in-place” (i.e. remain wherever they are already for the duration of the emergency).

Meghan McGinty’s research explored how public officials and hospital administrators make choices during environmental emergencies by analyzing decisions made during Hurricane Sandy. The goal of the research was to improve hospital evacuation/shelter-in-place decision-making to enable public-health professionals and community leaders to respond to the near-term effects of extreme weather and protect public health.


McGinty, MD, Burke, TA, Resnick, B, Barnett, DJ, Smith, KC, and Rutkow, L. “Decision Processes and Determinants of Hospital Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place During Hurricane Sandy.Journal of Public Health and Management. Feb 2016. 

McGinty, MD, Burke TA, Resnick, BA, Smith, KC, Barnett, DJ, and Rutkow, L. “Legal Preparedness for Hurricane Sandy: Authority to Order Hospital Evacuation or Shelter-in-Place in the Mid-Atlantic Region.Health Security. April 2016, 14(2): 78-85.

McGinty, MD and Toner, E. “Promoting Resilience to Climate Disruption.Health Security. April 2016, 14(2): 39-39.


Not only will atomic power be released, but someday we will harness the rise and fall of the tides and imprison the rays of the sun.
— Thomas Edison