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Has Bioterrorism Preparedness Improved Public Health?

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Publication Date: July 2003

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Andrea Staiti; Aaron Katz; John F. Hoadley

Series: Issue Brief No. 65

Topic: Health (Quality of health care)

Type: Brief

Abstract:

In anticipation of future terrorist attacks, the nation has been focused on emergency preparedness, including threats to public health and the ability of communities to respond to them. The Center for Studying Health System Change's (HSC) recent site visits to 12 nationally representative communities found early benefits to public health due to heightened attention to bioterrorism preparedness: more visibility and credibility for public health, stronger public health infrastructure and improved communication and coordination across sectors. Modest negative effects included staff diversions and delays in some program implementation. As the site visits continued from fall 2002 into 2003, concerns grew that the federal smallpox vaccination program was diverting resources from such traditional public health activities as routine immunizations, health promotion and screening.