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Week 3 – Public Health System Preparedness and ED/Public Health System Interface

Overview

If you believe that the constant references to a lack of preparedness for natural, technological and terrorism-related disasters in the United States are just hype, prepare to be shocked. This unit will demonstrate how far we have to go to proclaim that our public health system is anything but poorly assembled and on the verge of collapse. As a student of disaster public health, it will be your responsibility in the future to fix it.

Preparedness is placed at the beginning of this course because you must begin to think of solutions to real world problems based upon their root causes and origin. We can not have public health emergency response without plans and preparation. Conversely, recovery will be more painful, more difficult and more costly the less we prepare for the inevitable. Preparedness involves having the proper ingredients and a recipe for how to mix them to obtain the desired outcome. As you read through these documents about our lack of preparedness, think about how complex a task it is to assemble the best meal you ever had.

Objectives

1. Describe gaps in preparedness among emergency departments and trauma centers in the US, root causes and potential solutions.
2. Describe gaps in preparedness among EMS systems in the US, root causes and potential solutions.
3. Define a rapid health assessment and explain how to perform this function during a disaster.

Reading

Journal Articles

1. Howard Champion, et al. The State of US Trauma Systems: Public Perceptions Versus Reality?Implications for US Response to Terrorism and Mass Casualty Events.s1072751506013184.pdf

2. The Future of Emergency Care in the United States: The Institute of Medicine Subcommittee on Prehospital Emergency Medical Services.11629_EXS.pdf

3. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System.IOM Future of Emergency Care.pdf

4. Jon Mark Hirshon, et al. Emergency Medicine and the Health of the Public: The Critical Role of Emergency Departments in US Public Health. ED public health relationship

Discussion Board

Discuss common themes across the assigned journal articles relative to public health preparedness from the emergency and disaster healthcare perspective.

Many of you without a clinical background will be shocked or dismayed by some of the findings here. Those of you who already work in the healthcare sector may not. Regardless, the objective here is to generate a discussion where everyone learns new information.

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