Emory Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center
The Emory Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (Emory PERRC) focuses on the comparative analysis of public health systems to produce practical and sustainable outcomes that serve to improve our nation’s public health systems in the event of a disaster. The Emory PERRC addresses the third theme within the IOM’s 2008 Research priorities in emergency preparedness and response for public health systems: A letter report: “creating and maintaining sustainable preparedness and response systems throughout US public health network.” Led by Ruth Berkelman, MD and an interdisciplinary team of project directors and staff from epidemiology, health policy and management, emergency medicine, and medicine, the Emory PERRC will analyze state and local health departments’ systems of preparedness to identify factors that affect a community’s ability to successfully respond to a crisis with public health consequences and to document the systems and infrastructure needed to foster constructive responses in a sustainable manner.
The specific goals of the Emory PERRC are to:
- Conduct a comparative analysis of public health systems of preparedness across geographic areas in major metropolitan areas, rural areas, and across states;
- Enhance existing training programs through the support of multidisciplinary, dual-mentorship fellowships and doctoral programs focused on public health systems and preparedness research;
- Establish evidence-based best practices and reliable benchmarks across key systems of public health preparedness;
- Provide opportunities through seed grants to catalyze original research in the areas of public health systems, preparedness, and emergency response.
To achieve these goals, the Emory PERRC is pursuing four interdependent research projects to examine the organizational characteristics, response capacity, and interoperability of key community assets, including, but not limited to emergency operations centers, immunization registries, academic institutions, private providers, and state and local public health agencies. Emphasis will be placed on specific systems that protect vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, home health care agencies and/or dialysis centers. We will explore how these assets can be integrated and exploited to better prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from public health crises.
- Assessing the Utility of Incident Command Systems (ICSs) and Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) in Public Health Crises.
Under the direction of Kathleen Miner, PhD, this project will identify the attributes of
ICSs or EOCs that strengthen the capacity of public health officials to assess and respond
to public health emergencies and to determine how the structure and implementation of ICSs
and EOCs can be improved to enhance the capacity and capability of public health agencies
to prevent or control disease and injury during emergency events.
Academic-Community Partnerships in Preparedness. Led by Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH and Anne Dunlop, MD, MPH, this project examines
the role of academic institutions in community disaster response and the facilitators
and barriers to collaborative response efforts by academic institutions and public health systems.
This project seeks to facilitate effective and sustainable preparedness and response systems
by illustrating the potential role and contribution of academic-public health partnerships and successful preparedness,
mitigation, and response initiatives that resulted from these partnerships.
Improving Disaster Planning for Nursing Home, Home Health, and Dialysis Providers.
This project, led by David Howard, Ph.D. responds directly to the CDC priority of protecting vulnerable populations
in emergencies. The goals of this project are to assess the current preparedness plans of nursing homes,
home health agencies and dialysis centers. Findings will help providers improve their own preparedness strategies
and develop stronger connections between the providers and state and local disaster planners.
The project will provide preparedness planners with a better understanding of the capabilities of these providers
and a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve coordination, planning, and response.
Immunization Systems and Public Health Preparedness.
This project focuses on determining how public and private immunization systems
can be leveraged to combat vaccine-related and other types of public health emergencies.
Retrospective analyses of lessons learned from previous vaccine shortages, such as the
2008 - 2009 Haemophilus influenza type-B vaccine shortage and the 2009 - 2010 H1N1 vaccine shortage,
are being assessed to determine how states can effectively utilize immunization systems
to address emergencies in which mass vaccinations or countermeasure distribution must occur.
Through collaborations with the Association of Immunization Managers, the American Immunization Registry Association,
and the Task Force for Global Health, the project incorporates surveys of city, state,
and territorial immunization program managers and vaccine providers to gather data useful
to public health officials and practioners interested in improving the
U.S. immunization system for future vaccine shortages and large-scale public health emergencies.
Saad Omer, PhD, MPH, MBBA, Assistant Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology, and Pediatrics leads
the Immunization Systems project.