CPH Students and Faculty Integral to Emergency Planning Preparedness | Kent State University

CPH Students and Faculty Integral to Emergency Planning Preparedness

Working with faculty members Sheryl Chatfield, PhD, (SBS), Thomas Brewer, PhD, M.Jur. (HPM), public health ambassador Matt Stefanak, and preceptor Beth Bickford, executive director of the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners, Kelly employed a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess the effectiveness of consolidating Ebola response planning into eight preparedness regions.  Prior to this, most preparedness planning took place at the county or local health department levels (Ohio currently has 118 local health departments). Kelly found that local public health preparedness practitioners were somewhat supportive of this new regional approach, but that health departments with regional planning responsibility lacked the legal authority under state law to lead a regional response to Ebola or other disease outbreaks.

Chatfield, Brewer and Stefanak are hopeful that Kelly's assessment will be a useful reference for future decisions that the state and local health departments make about how to allocate public health preparedness funding for other emerging pathogens like the Zika virus.