Planning a regional response to public health emergencies . Patrick Lenihan, Ph.D

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Planning a regional response to
public health emergencies
Patrick Lenihan, Ph.D.
Overview
a) How regional preparedness efforts are different from
local readiness initiatives;
b) How regional structures work to prepare and respond
to public health emergencies;
c) Capacities that supported a region’s functioning; and
d) What tools are available for regional preparedness
planning?
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Regional vs. Individual
The key distinction separating a regional
approach to preparedness from the
approach taken by a single Local Health
Department (LHD) is the need for
coordinated efforts across multiple
jurisdictions
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Regional vs. Individual

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
Regional preparedness is more than scaled-up
individual preparedness
Working at a higher level of complexity; not just
a wider area of geography
Regional preparedness more about strategic
planning than operational planning
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Factors that impact regional
structure and function

Perception precedes conception: Consider
emergency scenarios


Authority informs type of regional
response: Regional vs. Individual authority
Efficiency, effectiveness, and/or capacity:
What are the needs of the region?
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Examples of regional structures



A mandated existing homeland security/emergency
management region/or state health department region in
which the authority lies within the “umbrella” agency.
A formal not-for-profit board structure with a selected
chairperson or president and governing structure;
A more informal coalition, advisory, or taskforce
structure with key positions in which decisions are made
by consensus;
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How regions function

Networking:


Sharing preparedness information (e.g.,
recent reports, grant guidance), approaches
to planning, press releases, exercise results,
or staff organizational charts
Coordinating:

Conducting joint exercises, trainings, ‘strike’
or response teams, or a regional project such
as a media campaign.
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How regions function

Standardizing:


Trainings, planning tools, plan content and format
(such as annexes), resource typing, job action sheets,
and even ‘triage tags’ that emergency medical
services could use throughout the region.
Centralizing:

Resources such as a single web portal, an emergency
notification system centralized through a regional
coordinator, a single regional training contractor or
regional staff (e.g.,GIS specialist).
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Capacities that Support & Challenge
Regional Functioning

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


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Staff time
Agency support
Leadership body
Established regional relationships
State requirements
Authority to plan and respond
Relationship with the state
Resources to sustain regional work
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Project Public Health Ready Helps
Improve Regional Preparedness
Operated by the National Association of County
and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
 Provides a template to structure regional
planning
 Comprehensive “to do” list in the form of criteria
 Established and tested national framework
 National Recognition Program
 Linked to tools and examples
 Network of regional sites for peer assistance
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