You are here: Home / Communications / News / Timely and Accurate Disease Reporting, Investigation, and Response

Timely and Accurate Disease Reporting, Investigation, and Response

Public health is not a homogeneous field. Public health agencies often differ from each other in their structures, programs, and funding levels. This reality is one reason why NWCPHP researchers were recently awarded a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study public health systems for disease reporting, investigation, and response.

July 1, 2010


Public health is not a homogeneous field. Public health agencies often differ from each other in their structures, programs, and funding levels. But far from being an impediment to studying effective disease outbreak response, this heterogeneity provides a natural laboratory for the study of best practices.

This reality is one reason why NWCPHP researchers were recently awarded a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study public health systems for disease reporting, investigation, and response. Led by Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH, Janet Baseman, PhD, MPH, and Debra Revere, MLIS, MA, this project will compare and score six different state/local public health agencies on measures such as timeliness and accuracy of disease reporting and outbreak detection and response.

The investigators will create logic models that reflect the functioning of each agency and will also collect data about each agency’s disease reporting and investigation tools and practices from key informant interviews and a wide selection of secondary data sources, including datasets from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

A panel of experts will review the logic models and evidence collected to rate the different agencies using a modified RAND Appropriateness Method. The panel’s analysis will be used to develop a matrix representing the relationship between quality ratings on various measures and the performance of each public health agency.

From this matrix, the researchers will propose a set of evidence-based benchmarking standards for public health agencies to use. It is intended that the findings of this study will assist public health agencies across the U.S. in improving disease outbreak reporting and investigation practices.

STORY TO SHARE?

We love public health stories! We feature them in our postcard series, Spotlight on the Field, and news items. Please contact us to share your story!