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Enhancing Access to Quality Online Training to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness and Response

Wood, Suzanne J. PHD, MS, FACHE; Rogers, Megan H. MS; Frost, Madeline C. MPH; Revere, Debra MA, MLIS; Rose, Barbara A. MPH; D'Ambrosio, Luann MEd

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: April 05, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000811
Practice Full Report: PDF Only

Objectives: To improve access to quality online training materials developed from 2010 to 2015 by 14 Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLCs) by creating quality standards and enhancing searchability through a new Web-based public health training catalog.

Methods: The PERLC-developed training materials (n = 530) were evaluated for their capability to support development of preparedness competencies as established by 2 evidence-based competency frameworks. Inclusion/exclusion criteria and evaluation guidelines regarding training quality (design, technology, and instructional components) were systematically applied to PERLC products to create a training catalog. Twenty emergency preparedness professionals pilot tested content and provided feedback to improve catalog design and function.

Results: Seventy-eight percent of PERLC resources (n = 413) met our quality standards for inclusion in the catalog's searchable database: 358 self-paced courses, 55 informational briefs, and other materials. Twenty-one training bundles were curated.

Discussion: We established quality guidelines, identified strengths and weaknesses in PERLC resources, and improved accessibility to trainings. Guidelines established by this work can be generalized to trainings outside the preparedness domain. Enhancing access to quality training resources can serve as a valuable tool for increasing emergency preparedness competence.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Correspondence: Suzanne J. Wood, PHD, MS, FACHE, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, Department of Health Services, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St, Box 357660, Rm 670-D, Seattle, WA 98195 (

This project was supported by the Cooperative Agreement, Number 5 U36 OE000002-04 505, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). This grant was used for the planning of this evaluation study, in the development of the PERLC Training Catalog, and in the dissemination through national conference presentations the results associated with each study phase. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC, the Department of Health & Human Services, or the ASPPH. The authors thank Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH, for her guidance and contributions to this study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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