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NWCPHP Continues Emergency Preparedness Research and Training in 2016

NWCPHP will continue supporting emergency preparedness research and training efforts with two new projects in 2016.

NWCPHP will continue supporting emergency preparedness research and training efforts with two new projects in 2016. 

February 2, 2016

NWCPHP is pleased to continue its nearly fifteen-year tradition of supporting emergency preparedness research and training efforts with two new projects in 2016. Both projects are a continuation of the joint work done by the Northwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (NWPERLC) and the Northwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (NWPERRC), which were housed within NWCPHP for many years.

“The recent reductions to the public health workforce have made it more important and also more challenging to have staff trained in emergency preparedness and response management,” said NWCPHP Associate Director Luann D’Ambrosio, MEd. “These projects will identify training and communication needs and barriers to implementing best practices in an effort to strengthen the culture of preparedness throughout our public health system.”

To address the demand for up-to-date training, the first project will include a review of existing learning products and other resources developed by the Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center Network and the creation of a searchable database for public health workers to access them. Project staff will work closely with a practice-based advisory committee to ensure trainings and associated materials reflect current public health and emergency preparedness knowledge and goals, are skill-based, and can be applicable beyond the region.

The second project will support the dissemination and implementation of evidence to address communication challenges that emerge during all phases of a public health emergency.

“Communication is one of the most important and challenging factors in emergency response,” said NWCPHP faculty and project lead Janet Baseman, PhD, MPH. “We really struggle in our attempts to exchange accurate, time-sensitive information effectively with diverse audiences; but we're intent on improving.” Part of the problem is the “how to” gap between generating evidence about what works well and translating that evidence into information that is actionable by public health agencies.

To address the gap, Baseman’s team will inventory and analyze existing communication tools and products developed over five years by the Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers and the Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers. They will share their results with the practice community during a virtual “synthesis symposium.” As with the first project, this one will also include consultation with front-line staff and managers to make sure the recommended tools and products meet local public health needs.

Since 9/11 public health agencies have taken on a larger role in emergency preparedness and response, including: information sharing, multi-sector collaboration, and continuous improvements through drills. Despite an influx of funding and sweeping changes to response systems, there is still much to be improved upon in strengthening that role. The tools and resources that emerge from NWCPHPs upcoming research and training activities will aid in those improvement efforts.

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