The H1N1 Pandemic: Lessons Learned from the Cities Readiness Initiative

Video: RAND Congressional Briefing Series


Christopher Nelson

Senior Political Scientist

RAND Corporation

The World Health Organization declared H1N1 a pandemic earlier this summer and the experimental H1N1 vaccine may be distributed too late to prevent many of the anticipated illnesses and deaths. Although the federal government has invested billions of dollars in improving the public health system's readiness for large-scale events, there has been little systematic evidence to assess whether these investments are actually making the nation safer.

RAND's recently published evaluation of the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) provides one of the first rigorous assessments of whether federal investments can improve readiness in the nation's communities. CRI helps the nation's largest metropolitan areas develop the ability to rapidly deliver life-saving medications and other medical supplies to their populations.

The study found that

  • CRI has improved communities' readiness to dispense medication and other supplies on a large scale and under rapid timelines
  • programs structured around specific scenarios and with clear goals, performance measures, and technical assistance, are more likely to be successful.

The study also has broader implications for pandemic influenza and other federal public health preparedness programs.

This briefing focuses on work conducted by the RAND Center for Domestic and International Health Security.

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