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Project Public Health Ready aims to prepare local public health agencies to respond to bioterrorism and to protect the public’s health through a program of planning, competency-based training, and exercises. The program is voluntary and participants receive recognition for their efforts. This report evaluates the pilot year of Project Public Health Ready. In the first year of operation, participation provided agencies with (1) a framework to use in organizing their preparedness activities; (2) ideas, materials, and support from their colleagues in the national program, academic public health preparedness centers, and elsewhere; and (3) recognition for their department’s efforts. The program’s deadlines and requirements led agencies to become prepared earlier than if they had not participated in the program. Although there were substantial non-reimbursed costs, participating departments were glad to have been part of the program and would participate again. Most of the limitations were associated with its status as a pilot program and the early state of development of standards, materials, and knowledge about public health preparedness.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the National Association of County and City Health Officials with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This research was conducted in the RAND Center for Domestic and International Health Security, a program within RAND Health.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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