Research Priorities in Emergency Preparedness and Response for Public Health Systems

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Biomedical and Health Research, Health Care Workforce, Public Health
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Activity Description

 Report released (see briefing)

In response to the recent “Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act” (PAHPA; Public Law 109-417) there is an immediate and critical need to define research priorities for the Centers for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP) at schools of public health. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Coordinating Office for Terrorism Emergency Preparedness and Response (COTPER) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conduct a fast-track study and issue a letter report that makes recommendations on research priorities for emergency preparedness and response in public health systems.

The IOM identified appropriate research opportunities and a list of three to five top-priority research areas that will likely result in measurable outcomes and near-term impact over the next three to five years. As a framework for their deliberations, the committee considered the areas of interest specifically articulated in the CDC's Advancing the Nation's Health: A Guide for Public Health Research Needs, 2006-2015, with special attention to:

  • Protecting vulnerable populations in emergencies (improving the identification of health vulnerability and evaluating interventions to lessen the risk of poor health outcomes),
  • Strengthening response systems (developing and evaluating integrated systems of emergency public health services and incident management),
  • Preparing the public health workforce (developing and evaluating strategies and tools to train and exercise the public health workforce to meet responsibilities for detection, mitigation, and recovery in varied settings and populations),
  •   Improving timely emergency communications (evaluating characteristics of effective risk communication in emergency settings and system enhancements to improve effective information exchange across diverse partners and populations under emergency conditions), and
  •   Improving information management to increase use (scenario modeling and forecasting; information and knowledge management tools to improve the availability and usefulness during crisis decision-making).

The committee met in conjunction with a public workshop on December 19-20, 2007, and delivered a letter report in January 2008  

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