158211 Emergency Preparedness Readiness of the Public Health Workforce in a Rural, Appalachian Regional Health Office

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 3:20 PM

Julie Best, RD , Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Paul Campbell Erwin, MD, MPH , Professor and Director, Department of Public Health, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Kirsten Anderson , Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Betsy Haughton, EdD, RD, LDN , Nutrition, University of Tenessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN
Purpose: Assess self-perceived emergency preparedness readiness and training needs of public health personnel working in a rural, Appalachian official health agency

Subjects: All employees of the East Tennessee Regional Health Office serving 15 rural counties

Methodology: A self-assessment instrument, adapted with permission from the Northwest Center for Public Health Preparedness, included 39 emergency preparedness competencies for all public health workers categorized across 10 essential public health services. For each competency respondents used a 4-point Likert-like scale to identify their self-perceived (1) level of confidence in completing the identified task, and (2) need for training. Twelve demographic and 5 training preference questions with subcomponents further described the population. The on-line survey, pilot-tested with a metropolitan health department's staff, was administered via initial email contact from the regional director authorizing work time; and 3 email requests to participate from the project each 1 week apart to include initial contact, follow-up reminder email to all respondents, and final follow up with non-respondents. Data were analyzed descriptively using SPSS as summary scores for the 10 essential services for confidence and training need.

Results: Results reveal differing levels of staff confidence to perform tasks across and within the 10 essential services. Similarly training needs differ. Differences also are noted by category of job function.

Conclusion: Assessment of staff's self-perceived confidence to perform emergency preparedness competencies and interest in training documents the need for change at the local level. Specifically, it informs targeted staff training priorities and modalities for implementation.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the core emergency preparedness competencies for all public health workers categorized across the 10 essential services Describe confidence to perform competencies and need for training by public health workers in a rural, regional health office.

Keywords: Emergency, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.