The Northwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (NWPERRC) is one of nine regional centers sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at strengthening and generating sustainable solutions to improve the US public health preparedness and response infrastructure and systems.

The NWPERRC is uniquely focused on conducting innovative, community-based public health emergency communications research. Located within the NWCPHP, NWPERRC’s multidisciplinary research group is drawn from departments and schools across the University of Washington (UW) and collaborates with state and local public health institutions and community-based organizations throughout the WWAMI region.


NWPERRC team members have applied their distinct expertise in public health systems and services research, health behavior and communications science, public health informatics, and implementation science in leading the projects listed below, all of which focus on a distinct area of preparedness and response to improve emergency communications with essential, vulnerable and diverse audiences.

Focus: Translation and Dissemination

PERRCoLATE Project: Translation, Demonstration, and Implementation of Public Health Emergency Communication Research and Training

PERRCoLATE Project researchers focused on the translation, application, and evaluation of research products and trainings developed by the Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers (PERRC) and Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLC) with the goal of utilizing these products to improve public health preparedness and response practices, policies, and programs.


Implementing Innovations in Public Health Agency Preparedness and Response Programs
Academic Article, American Journal of Public Health

Expanding Methodologies to Identify High-Priority Emergency Preparedness Tools for Implementation in Public Health Agencies
Academic Article, American Journal of Public Health

Enhancing Access to Quality Online Training to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness and Response
Academic Article, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Evidence-Based Communications Strategies: NWPERLC Response to Training on Effectively Reaching Limited English-Speaking (LEP) Populations in Emergencies
Academic Article, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Communicating During Emergencies: A Pandemic Influenza Tabletop Exercise
Tabletop exercise, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

Focus: Rapid Assessment and Bi-Directional Communications during an Emergency

Reaching Health Care Providers with Emergency Information

NWCPHP researchers wanted to know the most effective way to deliver public health messages to health care providers. To find out, they compared the effectiveness of fax, e-mail, and text messages for communicating public health alerts to different types of health care providers in urban and rural settings.


Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Communications with Health Care Providers: A Literature Review
Academic Article, BioMed Central Public Health

Health-Care Provider Preferences for Time-Sensitive Communications from Public Health Agencies
Academic Article, Public Health Reports

How 2 txt: An Exploration of Crafting Public Health Messages in SMS
Academic Article, BioMed Central Research Notes

Public Health Communications and Alert Fatigue
Academic Article, BioMed Central Health Services Research

An Exploration of Bi-Directional SMS Use by Public Health

This research investigated the potential utility of a bi-directional text messaging system for public health communication and explored the information system issues related to implementation. Findings from this research will help identify how public health can use SMS for communications concerning emergency preparedness and other public health priorities.


Exploring Bi-directional and SMS Messaging for Communications Between Public Health Agencies and Their Stakeholders: a Qualitative Study
Academic Article, BioMed Central Public Health

Text Messaging for Public Health Emergencies

NWCPHP-affiliated researchers based at Public Health - Seattle & King County investigated whether it is feasible for public health agencies to implement texting systems as an effective way to convey public health information.


Text Messaging to Communicate With Public Health Audiences: How the HIPAA Security Rule Affects Practice
Academic Article, American Journal of Public Health

What 2 know b4 u text: Short Message Service options for local health departments
Academic Article, Washington State Journal of Public Health Practice

Can u txt me now? Text Messaging to the Deaf for Emergencies
NACCHO Preparedness Brief

What Community Members Want from Public Health Text Messages
NACCHO Preparedness Brief

SMS Texting for Public Health Communication
Training Series, Resources, Public Health - Seattle & King County

Texting for Public Health Toolkit
Online Toolkit, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

SMS Message Content for Emergency Communication

This study investigated how short message service (SMS) text messaging on cell phones can be used by public health agencies to communicate with health care providers.

Influenza Vaccine Safety Reporting

Rapid safety assessment of widely used vaccines is a public health priority, and effective communication about potential adverse events is critical. This project studied systems used to monitor, report, and respond to potential problems associated with influenza vaccines.


Assessing Vaccine Safety Communication with Healthcare Providers in a Large Urban County
Academic Article, Journal of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety

Continuity of Operations During Disasters

During and after disasters, communication among public health clinic managers and staff is critical for maintaining essential services. How can effective communication be ensured? To address this question, our researchers conducted a pilot study on business continuity at Public Health - Seattle & King County.

Predicting Severity of Motor Vehicle Crashes

If it were possible to predict the absence of injury in a motor vehicle crash, emergency response resources could be dispatched at a level related to the need of victims. Researchers based at the Harborview Injury and Prevention Research Center developed algorithms capable of doing this kind of prediction.


Scenario-Based Design: A Method for Connecting Reusable Design with Public Health Continuity of Operations Planning and Emergency Management
Academic Article, Journal of Biomedical Informatics

Use of Technology to Support Information Needs for Continuity of Operations Planning in Public Health: A Systematic Review
Academic Article, Online Journal of Public Health Informatics

Focus: Emergency Communications Centers and Vulnerable Populations

Limited English Proficiency 911

Using focus groups, one of our research teams identified specific communication barriers faced by native Chinese and Spanish speakers. Their research findings can now provide guidance to agencies operating phone-based emergency response systems that serve limited English proficient (LEP) populations.


Ni Hao! Hola! Mabuhay! Serving Callers With Limited English Skills
Academic Article, Public Safety Communications

Barriers and Facilitators to Using 9-1-1 and Emergency Medical Services in a Limited English Proficiency Chinese Community
Academic Article, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

Diffusion of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training to Chinese Immigrants with Limited English Proficiency
Academic Article, Emergency Medicine International

Practice, More Practice, Best Practice: Improving Our Service to Limited-English Callers
Academic Article, Washington State Journal of Public Health Practice

Information-Seeking Behaviors and Response to the H1N1 Outbreak in Chinese Limited-English Proficient Individuals Living in King County, Washington
Academic Article, American Journal of Disaster Medicine

The Role of Self-Efficacy in Communication and Emergency Response in Chinese Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Populations
Academic Article, Health Promotion Practice

Automated Language Translation of Public Health Information

This pilot study investigated how translation software can be used to increase the availability of emergency information in multiple languages.


Application of Statistical Machine Translation to Public Health Information: A Feasibility Study
Academic Article, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association

A Comparison of Human and Machine Translation of Health Promotion Materials for Public Health Practice: Time, Costs, and Quality
Academic Article, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Media Campaign to Improve Bystander CPR Skills of Chinese Speakers

Because most CPR classes are taught in English, limited English proficiency (LEP) populations are less likely than native English speakers to have these life-saving skills. This study tested the effectiveness of using Chinese newspapers to disseminate emergency response skills within the Chinese LEP community.