Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers: Outcomes from the Federal Investment in Public Health Systems Research to Strengthen Preparedness and Response

The CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), is pleased to present the Public Health Reports supplement titled, “Outcomes from the Federal Investment in Public Health Systems Research to Strengthen Preparedness and Response.” The full journal supplement is now available to view and download at no cost on the Public Health Report’s website at http://www.publichealthreports.org/issuecontents.cfm?Volume=129&Issue=10.

This supplement highlights practical examples of the work conducted by the CDC-funded nine Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers (PERRCs), demonstrating the value of public health research that collectively advances our thinking and understanding of how to improve our public health system’s preparedness for and response to disasters. Its publication reflects a confluence of three disciplinary trends in the field of public health emergency preparedness and response (PHEPR) research: (1) the application of methods, frameworks, and analytical strategies from the emerging, interdisciplinary field of public health systems and services research to the specialized practice domain of PHEPR; (2) a move, generally, toward more rigorous study design within the field; and (3) the influence of themes and analytical strategies from more established fields, such as social science-oriented disaster research, psychometrics, and operations research.

The PERRCs used the public health systems research approach to examine the organization, function, capacity, and performance of interacting components in the public health system to prepare for and respond to all potential threats and hazards. From 2008 to 2014, CDC granted $57 million to sponsor research programs at nine PERRCs, selected on a competitive basis, at accredited U.S. schools of public health. The research conducted at these PERRCs addresses four research priorities and five cross-cutting elements recommended by the Institute of Medicine. The findings from these projects will be used to help improve public health practice for preparedness and emergency response planning and policies at the local, state, federal, and tribal level. All PERRC research is focused on identifying the most critical elements needed to enhance preparedness for all hazards and closing gaps in public health preparedness and response services.

The supplement includes research reports with implications for practice by each of the nine PERRC grantees, as well as commentaries from CDC, ASPPH, and contributing editors. For those interested in learning more about OPHPR’s Extramural Research Program, please contact ophpr_extramuralres@cdc.gov.

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