Publications (2)2.26 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: Objectives: This study evaluated the impact of a novel multimethod curricular intervention using a train-the-trainer model: the Public Health Infrastructure Training (PHIT). PHIT was designed to 1) modify perceptions of self-efficacy, response efficacy, and threat related to specific hazards and 2) improve the willingness of local health department (LHD) workers to report to duty when called upon. Methods: Between June 2009 and October 2010, eight clusters of US LHDs (n = 49) received PHIT. Two rounds of focus groups at each intervention site were used to evaluate PHIT. The first round of focus groups included separate sessions for trainers and trainees, 3 weeks after PHIT. The second round of focus groups combined trainers and trainees in a single group at each site 6 months following PHIT. During the second focus group round, participants were asked to self-assess their preparedness before and after PHIT implementation. Setting: Focus groups were conducted at eight geographically representative clusters of LHDs. Participants: Focus group participants included PHIT trainers and PHIT trainees within each LHD cluster. Main outcome measure(s): Focus groups were used to assess attitudes toward the curricular intervention and modifications of willingness to respond (WTR) to an emergency; self-efficacy; and response efficacy. Results: Participants reported that despite challenges in administering the training, PHIT was well designed and appropriate for multiple management levels and disciplines. Positive mean changes were observed for all nine self-rated preparedness factors (p < 0.001). The findings show PHIT's benefit in improving self-efficacy and WTR among participants. Conclusions: The PHIT has the potential to enhance emergency response willingness and related self-efficacy among LHD workers.
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ABSTRACT: The all-hazards willingness to respond (WTR) of local public health personnel is critical to emergency preparedness. This study applied a threat-and efficacy-centered framework to characterize these workers' scenario and jurisdictional response willingness patterns toward a range of naturally-occurring and terrorism-related emergency scenarios. Eight geographically diverse local health department (LHD) clusters (four urban and four rural) across the U.S. were recruited and administered an online survey about response willingness and related attitudes/beliefs toward four different public health emergency scenarios between April 2009 and June 2010 (66% response rate). Responses were dichotomized and analyzed using generalized linear multilevel mixed model analyses that also account for within-cluster and within-LHD correlations. Comparisons of rural to urban LHD workers showed statistically significant odds ratios (ORs) for WTR context across scenarios ranging from 1.5 to 2.4. When employees over 40 years old were compared to their younger counterparts, the ORs of WTR ranged from 1.27 to 1.58, and when females were compared to males, the ORs of WTR ranged from 0.57 to 0.61. Across the eight clusters, the percentage of workers indicating they would be unwilling to respond regardless of severity ranged from 14-28% for a weather event; 9-27% for pandemic influenza; 30-56% for a radiological 'dirty' bomb event; and 22-48% for an inhalational anthrax bioterrorism event. Efficacy was consistently identified as an important independent predictor of WTR. Response willingness deficits in the local public health workforce pose a threat to all-hazards response capacity and health security. Local public health agencies and their stakeholders may incorporate key findings, including identified scenario-based willingness gaps and the importance of efficacy, as targets of preparedness curriculum development efforts and policies for enhancing response willingness. Reasons for an increased willingness in rural cohorts compared to urban cohorts should be further investigated in order to understand and develop methods for improving their overall response.