Public Health Preparedness

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Public health emergencies such as infectious disease, bioterrorism, or natural disasters require a coordinated response at the local, national, and international levels. RAND research improves the capability of public health systems to anticipate and prepare for such emergencies, by providing a robust set of standardized response measures, tabletop exercises, and toolkits; using GIS technology for planning; and identifying best practices and lessons learned from multiagency exercises.

  • Student Maria Melendez sets up equipment to collect public wastewater samples from the University of Oklahoma campus to test for COVID-19 in Norman, Oklahoma, April 9, 2021, photo by Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network via Reuters

    Commentary

    National Wastewater Tracking Could Help Us Stay Ahead of COVID-19—but Congress Cut the Funds

    For years, medical experts have used wastewater to track the spread of diseases. The National Wastewater Surveillance System has the potential to significantly change the way we fight COVID-19 as well as future pandemics, bacterial diseases, and viruses. But building up the robustness of a wastewater surveillance system will take financial support, and it's not clear Congress will provide it.

    Mar 24, 2022

  • Laboratory with map of United States showing disease outbreaks, photo by janiecbros/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Rebuild Public Health for the Next Pandemic?

    COVID-19 exposed how underprepared the United States was for a pandemic and raised questions about preparedness for the next one. With political will to spend money on public health, how can America take a holistic view of all the options? And how should investments be prioritized?

    Aug 6, 2021

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