The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3045.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:15 AM

Abstract #59557

Organizational crisis preparedness in local health departments

Donna Dinkin, MPH, Center for Public Health Practice, University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill, Campus Box 8165, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8165, 336/643-4165,

The serious outcomes of crises, such as diminished public confidence and the death of people and wildlife, illustrate the importance of preventing and preparing for organizational crises. Business scholars and practitioners have suggested that no organization, regardless of size, nature of operations, or type of industry, is immune to crises. Serious threats of terrorism, rapid advances in medical technology, increasing complexity of social / public health problems and increased scrutiny of public agencies suggests that public health organizations are ripe for organizational crises. Using a comprehensive model of Crisis-Preparedness, this study describes various types of organizational crises and assesses the level of preparedness of local North Carolina health departments to prevent and respond to these different types. A typology of organizational crises, constructed by local public health practitioners, revealed 7 different crisis “types”: Disasters, Personnel, Quality Assurance, Legal, Public Relations, Political, Plant/ Equipment. A written survey, key informant interviews and document reviews provided valuable insight into the level of crisis preparedness of local health departments. Health departments considered crisis prepared have human, cultural and structural characteristics that support crisis management. They also have in place written strategies, such as crisis plans, and media relations procedures which provide a systematic framework for responding to a variety of crisis situations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Public Health Administration, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Public Health Preparedness at the Local Level: Planning and Organizational Issues

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA