Enhancing Public Health Preparedness: Exercises, Exemplary Practices, and Lessons Learned

Assessing the Adequacy of Extant Exercises for Addressing Local and State Readiness for Public Health Emergencies

by Lisa R. Shugarman, Elisa Eiseman, Arvind Jain, Nancy Nicosia, Stefanie Howard, Jeffrey Wasserman

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RAND was asked to develop a set of criteria by which the design of emergency response exercises could be evaluated and then to apply those criteria to actual exercises that focus on assessing and improving the readiness of local and state public health departments to respond to public health emergencies, including bioterrorism. This document presents the results of a large-scale application of the final 14 criteria to exercises suitable for evaluation (exercises that met minimum documentation requirements). RAND found that the criteria were reasonably feasible, reliable, internally consistent, and exhibited good face validity. Expert evaluation of 37 exercises using the criteria showed substantial variation in exercise scores.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND Health.

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