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Community resilience, or the sustained ability of a community to withstand and recover from adversity has become a key policy issue at federal, state, and local levels, including in the National Health Security Strategy. Because resources are limited in the wake of an emergency, it is increasingly recognized that resilience is critical to a community's ability to reduce long recovery periods after an emergency. This report provides a roadmap for federal, state, and local leaders who are developing plans to enhance community resilience for health security threats and describes options for building community resilience in key areas. Based on findings from a literature review and a series of community and regional focus groups, the authors provide a definition of community resilience in the context of national health security and a set of eight levers and five core components for building resilience. They then describe suggested activities that communities are pursuing and may want to strengthen for community resilience, and they identify challenges to implementation.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Definition and Application of Community Resilience

  • Chapter Three

    Wellness: Promote Population Health Before and After an Incident, Including Behavioral Health

  • Chapter Four

    Access: Ensure Access to High-Quality Health, Behavioral Health, and Social Resources and Services

  • Chapter Five

    Education: Ensure Ongoing Information to the Public About Preparedness, Risks, and Resources Before, During, and After a Disaster

  • Chapter Six

    Engagement: Promote Participatory Decisionmaking in Planning, Response, and Recovery Activities

  • Chapter Seven

    Self-Sufficiency: Enable and Support Individuals and Communities to Assume Responsibility for Their Preparedness

  • Chapter Eight

    Partnership: Develop Strong Partnerships Within and Between Government and Other Organizations

  • Chapter Nine

    Quality: Collect, Analyze, and Utilize Data to Monitor and Evaluate Progress on Building Community Resilience

  • Chapter Ten

    Efficiency: Leverage Existing Community Resources for Maximum Use and Effectiveness

  • Chapter Eleven

    Future Directions: Implementation, Measurement, and Next Steps

  • Appendix A

    Literature Review and Abstraction

  • Appendix B

    Community Resilience Definitions: Findings from Literature Review

  • Appendix C

    Community Prioritization Tool — Example

  • Appendix D

    Examples of Sample Community Resilience Measures

Research conducted by

This work was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The research was conducted in RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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