Rapid Focus Group Study Provides Input for Preparedness Planning in Ohio Health Departments
Each year, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awards more than $10 million to local health departments in Ohio for public health emergency preparedness and response. A team of faculty and students in the College of Public Health was recently called upon to help local public health preparedness leaders tasked with developing recommendations for CDC-funded preparedness activities in the years ahead. Dr. Sheryl Chatfield and doctoral students Kristen DeBois, Jared Durieux and Shelly Evans, working with state-local preparedness liaison Matthew Stefanak, who also serves as one of the college's public health ambassadors, hosted a series of remote focus group interviews with health commissioners and regional public health coordinators from across the state. Several themes emerged from the team's analysis of nearly four hours of interviews with more than 20 participants, including the need for more quality improvement efforts in public health emergency exercise planning, quicker reimbursement of health departments by the state and better tools for managing the timely delivery of complex requirements for reimbursement. The team's report and recommendations have been submitted to state health department officials responsible for developing Ohio's public health emergency preparedness plan for 2019-2024 and many of the team's recommendations were subsequently accepted by the director of ODH for implementation.