May 21, 2012
Preparedness Brief
Leading the Way to Prepared and Resilient Communities
In This Issue
Advanced Practice Centers
Food Protection Toolkit–An Easy Guide to Lower Foodborne Illnesses
Stories from the Field
Lessons Learned From a Regional Volunteer Activation
ASPR Offers Free Emergency Medical Management Tools for Responders
An Introduction to the National Health Security Preparedness Index Project
Nurse Triage Line Project
Introduction to Nurse Triage Line Project
Executive Working Group for Whole Community Inclusion
Executive Working Group Meets in Washington, DC
News, Reports, and Journal Articles
White County MRC Participates in Functional Exercise
Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response
NHSS Implementation Plan Released
American Red Cross and Dell Launch the DigiDoc
Share Your Story from the Field with NACCHO
Contribute to Preparedness Products for Local Health Department Use
Tools and Resources
The Infectious Disease Emergency Response Toolkit: A Spotlight on Implementation
National Hurricane Preparedness Week Resources
CDC Public Health Matters blog
Join Health and Disability Learning Community
Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health
Upcoming Events
Meet the APC Program at ITS in Nashville
Win a 2012 NACCHO Annual Conference Registration
Participate in Webinar: What PPD #8 Means to County and City Public Health and Medical Practitioners
Register for the Radiological Emergency Planning: Terrorism, Security, and Communication Program
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Jack Herrmann, MSEd., NCC, LMHC, Senior Advisor & Chief, Public Health Preparedness at NACCHO

Lead Editor

Megan Skupien, Communications Specialist, Public Health Preparedness at NACCHO


About Us
The Preparedness Brief is the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) bimonthly public health preparedness e-newsletter. The Preparedness Brief is created for today’s public health preparedness professional and features articles about NACCHO preparedness programs and their impact on the local level, stories from the field written by local health departments and partner agencies, as well as preparedness-related tools, resources, and upcoming events.

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Stories from the Field
An Introduction to the National Health Security Preparedness Index Project
Geetika Nadkarni, Senior Analyst in Preparedness, ASTHO

Over the past decade, significant resources have been invested toward developing and strengthening the national health security infrastructure. A number of benchmarks and standards have been created to measure individual target areas that fit within the broad scope of public health preparedness and readiness, including measures from Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health and Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities, Pandemic and All-Hazard Preparedness Act (PAHPA) benchmarks, and Trust for America’s Health Ready or Not? report. However, no overarching index measure currently exists to evaluate the entire composite picture of preparedness.

The general public and elected officials are increasingly calling for ways to determine how well their communities are prepared for public health emergencies and what further steps can be taken to improve their existing programs. There remains a need to quantify the current status of preparedness at the state and local levels, to measure progress, and to estimate the return on investment for preparing and protecting the health security of America.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently collaborated through a cooperative agreement to steward the development of a preparedness measurement instrument, known as the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI). The mission of the NHSPI is to present an accurate portrayal of public health and health system preparedness that provides relevant, actionable information to drive decision- making and continuous improvement of the nation’s health security. The primary audiences of the Index are policymakers, including Congress and state and local leadership. Specifically, the purpose of the NHSPI is to:

  • Assess current investments and inform future funding decisions;
  • Identify current public health and health system capabilities, assess gaps, and identify best practices for the purpose of quality improvement;
  • Be a one-stop shop for measurement and a single tool resource for states and locals to measure preparedness;
  • Provide consistency over time; and
  • Demonstrate how well a jurisdiction can be prepared at a certain level of funding.

The NHSPI will combine various criteria with different scales or units of measurement into one composite metric, and ensure that the relative weighting of the various criteria are appropriately reflected in composite score, regardless of the differences in the scale or in the units of measurement. It is anticipated that the NHSPI will take several years to fully incorporate into the spectrum of health security.

For the first project year, the CDC has funded the project to focus on the public health capabilities of preparedness in the development of the Index. In future years, additional components such as healthcare system preparedness, may be added to the model.

The NHSPI project will use the following guiding principles in its design:

  • Synthesize current guidance, policies, directives, etc. toward a common measurement;
  • Embrace already established relevant and applicable metrics;
  • Create new data reports only where gaps exist; and
  • Include viewpoints and feedback from the broader preparedness community.

In addition, the NHSPI project team will be sensitive to, and proactively manage, how the indicators should be interpreted and applied.

While ASTHO and the CDC are facilitating the NHSPI’s development, broad representation from the practice and research community is involved in the process. The NHSPI project is led by a Steering Committee empanelled by prominent preparedness leaders who provide guidance, direction, and decision-making to the project.

In addition to leadership from local and state public health agencies representing the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and ASTHO membership, the Steering Committee includes representatives from the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Trust for America’s Health, the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and federal liaisons from the CDC, ASPR, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Three subject-matter workgroups in the areas of governance, model design, and stakeholder communication, include experts from a wide number of public, academic, and private organizations.

The NHSPI project is in its early stages and will continue to feature ongoing opportunities for the local and state practice community to provide input and feedback on the Index’s development. This includes a soon-to-be-launched website, where individuals will be able to both access information and provide comments on the Index’s progress.
For more information on this project, please contact Geetika Nadkarni, Senior Analyst in Preparedness at ASTHO (

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