Emergency Preparedness Best Practices

Grant Amount: $157,200
Recipient: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Health Security

In major public health emergencies, experience has shown that communities withstand and recover most effectively when government, businesses, community-based organizations, and individuals can all join together to respond. Local health departments often integrate non-governmental entities into their responses, but these groups frequently lack the resources to engage in preparedness activities. In addition, there is little evidence to identify what competencies and tools benefit local health departments working to engage communities for emergency preparedness.

The UPMC Center for Health Security, with funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, is collecting data to define best practices for community engagement in public health emergency preparedness. The information is being gathered through a national survey, previously conducted in 2012, as well as through case studies of small and large local health departments that are “high performers.” This data will identify predictors of successful community engagement in preparedness activities and also identify local health departments that can serve as role models for their peers. With this data, policymakers will have the research needed to identify effective investments in health security through technical, financial, and training support.