In the wake of events such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, communities across the country have taken a hard look at how well prepared they are for public health emergencies both man-made and natural. AHRQ has funded more than 60 emergency preparedness-related studies, workshops, and conferences, with the goal of aiding state and local communities to better prepare for large-scale public health crises. We asked Dr. Sally Phillips, Director of AHRQ’s Pubic Health Emergency Preparedness Research, about her program.
The culture of preparedness [Dec 30 2008] by Hal Newman / http://www.bigmedicine.ca
Everyone talks about ‘creating a culture of emergency preparedness’ but no one talks about what the key elements are when creating any culture. How do we design a culture of preparedness to be used as a safety anchor for people to grasp onto when threatened?
If we’re trying to get people to understand that the ‘cavalry’ is not going to come riding over the crest of the hill to save them from most disasters – what are the visible attributes of culture – do we use artifacts [a rooftop with SOS spelled out on it perhaps], stories [Katrina, Ike, Greensburg KS, 9/11], rituals [the annual packing and unpacking of the ‘Go Bag’], symbols, beliefs, attitudes, rules and heroes?
In an age of fragmented views and diametrically opposed priorities – even among professional associations, advocacy groups, and govt agencies in the same space - who is setting the agenda for creating this culture of emergency preparedness?
Please don’t diss the query with a reply of ‘That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?’ or something along those lines. How do we take this concept forward – without playing the blame game and talking about past failures.
So what’s your ‘wish list’ – your priorities, your plan, your roadmap? What are you reaching for – is there a list of tangible ‘things’ that will make this work? What are the things – the three things that I can do – that will really make a difference?
What was it that RFK said about the danger of expediency – “of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course if we must act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done.”
On this edition of Interviews with Innovators, host Jon Udell speaks with W. David Stephenson, who reflects on how Web 2.0 technologies - and mindsets - are transforming the relationship between citizens and governments.
W. David Stephenson, of Stephenson Strategies (Medfield, MA) is an E.Gov/Web 2.0 strategist and consultant, specializing in approaches to empower employees and individuals and harness "the wisdom of crowds." In addition to his work with data feeds and visualizations, he also consults on ad hoc homeland security and emergency communication strategies using Web 2.0 applications and devices. A political activist for many years, Stephenson was press secretary and speechwriter to former Mass. Governor Michael Dukakis.
The flu season began early this year and has struck hard in many areas of the country. On Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency for the state of New York, and last week Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a similar emergency within the city of Boston.