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Disaster Manag Response. 2006 Oct-Dec;4(4):106-13.

Better prepared but spread too thin: the impact of emergency preparedness funding on local public health.

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Justeen Hyde is Senior Scientist, Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, Mass, USA.


Local public health authorities (LPHAs) are recognized as playing critical roles in response to biological, chemical, and other health emergencies. An influx of emergency preparedness funding has created new and expanding responsibilities for LPHAs. Concern that funding for emergency response is diverting attention and resources away from other core public health responsibilities is increasing. In order to determine the impact of emergency preparedness funding on public health infrastructure, qualitative interviews with 27 LPHAs in the metro-Boston area were conducted as part of an on-going evaluation of preparedness planning in Massachusetts. Feedback on the benefits and challenges of recent emergency preparedness planning mandates was obtained. Benefits include opportunities to develop relationships within and across public health departments and increases in communication between local and state authorities. Challenges include budget constraints, staffing shortages, and competing public responsibilities. Policy recommendations for improving planning for emergency response at the local level are provided.

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