Emergency preparedness and community coalitions: opportunities and challenges.

Emily Carrier, Tracy Yee, Dori Cross, Divya Samuel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Being prepared for a natural disaster, infectious disease outbreak or other emergency where many injured or ill people need medical care while maintaining ongoing operations is a significant challenge for local health systems. Emergency preparedness requires coordination of diverse entities at the local, regional and national levels. Given the diversity of stakeholders, fragmentation of local health care systems and limited resources, developing and sustaining broad community coalitions focused on emergency preparedness is difficult. While some stakeholders, such as hospitals and local emergency medical services, consistently work together, other important groups--for example, primary care clinicians and nursing homes--typically do not participate in emergency-preparedness coalitions, according to a new qualitative study of 10 U.S. communities by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Challenges to developing and sustaining community coalitions may reflect the structure of preparedness activities, which are typically administered by designated staff in hospitals or large medical practices. There are two general approaches policy makers could consider to broaden participation in emergency-preparedness coalitions: providing incentives for more stakeholders to join existing coalitions or building preparedness into activities providers already are pursuing. Moreover, rather than defining and measuring processes associated with collaboration--such as coalition membership or development of certain planning documents--policy makers might consider defining the outcomes expected of a successful collaboration in the event of a disaster, without regard to the specific form that collaboration takes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalResearch brief
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


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