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Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013 Apr;28(2):94-8. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X13000071. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

An Evaluation of Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) in North Carolina, 2003-2010.

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University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina USA.



Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) is a group of tools and methods designed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide rapid, reliable, and accurate population-based public health information. Since 2003, North Carolina public health professionals have used CASPERs to facilitate public health emergency responses and gather information on other topics including routine community health assessments.


To date, there has been no evaluation of CASPER use by public health agencies at the state or local level in the US.


Local health departments of North Carolina reported when and how CASPERs were used during the period 2003 to 2010 via an online survey. Data on barriers and future plans for using CASPERs also were collected.


Fifty-two of North Carolina's 85 local health departments (61%) completed the survey. Twenty-eight departments reported 46 instances of CASPER use during 2003 to 2010. The majority of CASPERs were performed for community health assessments (n = 20, 43%) or exercises (n = 11, 24%). Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated they were "likely" or "very likely" to use CASPERs in the future; those who had prior experience with CASPERs were significantly more likely (P = .02) to report planned future use of CASPERs compared to those without prior experience with the tool. Lack of training, equipment, and time were the most frequently reported barriers to using CASPERs.


Local public health agencies with clear objectives and goals can effectively use CASPERs in both routine public health practice and disaster settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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