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Conceptualizing and Measuring Community Preparedness Within Public Health Preparedness and Response: Complexities and Lessons Learned

Kun, Karen E. MPH; Rose, Dale A. PhD, MSc; Morris, Thomas MD, MPH; Salter, Monique MPH; Lamia, Tamara MPH; Bhalakia, Amee MPH; McLees, Anita W. MPH, MA

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: July/August 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p E1–E5
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a5bbcc
Practice Brief Report

Since 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement has supported state, territorial, and local public health departments in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. This conceptual article describes complexities identified and lessons learned in developing community preparedness performance measures for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's public health preparedness program. Challenges arose in (a) defining community; (b) measuring meaningful community engagement; and (c) determining a strategy for collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data from diverse state, territorial, and local health departments. This article contributes to prior work describing conceptual challenges in developing standardized measures of performance at the federal level and suggests ways to potentially mitigate general performance measurement challenges as well as measurement complexities specific to community preparedness. It may be informative for those state, territorial, and local health departments currently implementing (or contemplating implementing) community preparedness activities and for individuals more generally engaged in performance measurement.

This conceptual article describes complexities identified and lessons learned in developing community preparedness performance measures for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health preparedness program.

Center for Global Health (Ms Kun), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (Drs Rose and Morris), and Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (Ms McLees), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia; Food and Drug Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services, College Park, Maryland (Ms Salter); and ICF International, Atlanta, Georgia (Mss Lamia and Bhalakia).

Correspondence: Dale A. Rose, PhD, MSc, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333 (ido8@cdc.gov).

The authors Kun, Rose, Morris, Salter, and McLees were employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Department of Health and Human Services, at the time this work was undertaken. The authors Lamia and Bhalakia were employees of ICF International, a firm that received funds through a contract to partner with the CDC on measurement development.

The opinions expressed in this article are the authors' own and do not reflect the view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.