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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted RAND to develop resources and prepare analyses that help describe and enhance key aspects of state and local public health emergency preparedness. As part of this work, RAND designed and tested a new quality-improvement tool that public health agencies can adopt to regularly look back at each routine annual influenza season to systematically institutionalize knowledge from one influenza season to the next; continuously improve the public health response to routine annual influenza; and incorporate lessons into preparedness activities for pandemic influenza and other public health emergencies. RAND staff developed and pilot-tested this “Look-Back” methodology in three state public health agencies (SPHAs) in different regions of the United States between June and August 2005.

In this document, we provide SPHA leaders with the basic information necessary to conduct Look-Backs at routine annual influenza with their staff members and to tailor the tool to their own needs and experiences. In addition, we report on some design issues and lessons that emerged from out pilot tests that may be of interest to SPHAs.

This report was prepared for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, but it should be of interest to policymakers, public health professionals, and individuals who are involved in routine annual influenza management and pandemic influenza and public health emergency preparedness.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction and Methods

  • Chapter Two

    Conducting a Look-Back at Routine Annual Influenza

  • Chapter Three

    Translating Knowledge into Practice

  • Chapter Four

    Design Issues and Implementation Challenges

  • Chapter Five

    Selected Lessons Learned by State Public Health Agencies

  • Appendix A

    Look-Back Planning Checklist

  • Appendix B

    Sample Look-Back Presentation

  • Appendix C

    Template for an After Action Report

The research described in this report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This research was produced within the RAND Health Center for Domestic and International Health Security. RAND Health is a division of the RAND Corporation.

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