Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed an evidence-informed checklist that outlines action steps for medical and public health officials to assess and strengthen the resilience of their community’s health sector to high-consequence infectious disease (HCID) events.

The checklist bridges a planning gap in building resilience to HCID events by offering comprehensive guidance on recommended improvements to the interconnected preparedness and response capabilities of the public, private, and community organizations that comprise local health sectors. Other HCID resilience efforts currently underway focus exclusively on specific aspects of HCID preparedness and response, like clinical treatment guidelines or biocontainment units, rather than the broad range of entities and operations that comprise the health sector response.

“One of the key findings of our research is the diversity of people who end up being involved in a response and how interrelated they are, including many who never expected to be involved,” said Eric Toner, M.D., senior associate at the Center and the project’s principal investigator. “Therefore, many more stakeholders must participate in planning, and they are eager for firsthand information from others who have experienced an HCID event.”

Toner produced the checklist with Center Senior Associates Tara Kirk Sell, Ph.D., and Monica Schoch-Spana, Ph.D.; Senior Analyst Matthew Shearer, MPH; Analyst Diane Meyer, R.N., MPH; and former Research Assistant Hannah Chandler. CDC coauthors were Erin Thomas Echols, Ph.D., applied research fellow in the office of public health preparedness and response; Dale Rose, Ph.D., associate director for science in the division of emergency operations; and Eric Carbone, MBA, Ph.D., director of the office of applied research in the office of public health preparedness and response. The project was supported by funding from the CDC.

The team’s full report, “Health Sector Resilience Checklist for High-Consequence Infectious Diseases—Informed by the Domestic US Ebola Response,” analyzes the firsthand experience of handling confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease in four U.S. cities (Atlanta, Dallas, New York, and Omaha) and identifies challenges and solutions to both common and unique problems faced by these cities, in particular highlighting unanticipated issues.

Read more at  Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security