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Biosecur Bioterror. 2008 Mar;6(1):57-65. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2007.0052.

Communicating information in an emergency preparedness pill distribution campaign.

Author information

  • 1Public Health Services Branch, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360, USA. James.Blando@doh.state.nj.us



Public health agencies are often tasked with the development and execution of interventions, but the communication strategy and its impact on the effectiveness of an intervention is often not evaluated or incorporated by local and state health agencies. The primary objective of this study was to determine the impact of information from various sources on knowledge about an emergency preparedness public health intervention involving the mass distribution of medicine.


The study used validated written mail surveys containing 12 simple knowledge-based questions. One-way ANOVA, the Studentized Newman-Keuls (SNK) test, logistic regression, and multiple regression were used to evaluate the data.


Reading an educational fact sheet or receiving job training were the highest predictive variables for correct responses on the survey among all groups. Commercial media were found to potentially diminish comprehension among survey respondents. There was significant variability in knowledge among different groups surveyed, ranging from an average of 15% to 74% correct responses on the survey.


This study found that job training and fact sheets that are delivered directly to the intended recipients are very effective at enhancing knowledge among the general public and emergency responders. Conversely, we found that commercial media, such as television, may be detrimental to educating the public about important public health interventions. The internet was not widely used by the survey respondents to obtain information; this raises questions regarding the usefulness of websites for emergency preparedness education.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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