Federal Initiative Increases Community Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 29, no. 12, Dec. 2010, p. 2286-2293

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Christopher Nelson, Henry H. Willis, Edward W. Chan, Shoshana R. Shelton, Andrew M. Parker

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Policy makers need to know whether federal programs can improve community-level readiness for large-scale public health emergencies, and how to design such programs to increase their impact. This article describes an evaluation of the Cities Readiness Initiative, a federal program to improve communities' ability to dispense medications rapidly during emergencies. The program helped increase staffing, improve planning and partnerships, and streamline medication-dispensing procedures. The evaluation results indicate that clear goals, technical assistance, and a balance between threat-specific and more-general "all hazards" planning might improve the effectiveness of federal readiness programs.

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