Assessing the Readiness and Training Needs of Non-urban Physicians in Public Health Emergency and Response

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Chiehwen Ed Hsu, PhD, Francisco Soto Mas, MD, PhD, MPH, Holly Jacobson, PhD, Richard Papenfuss, PhD, Ella T. Nkhoma, MPH, and James Zoretic, MD, MPH . "Assessing the Readiness and Training Needs of Non-urban Physicians in Public Health Emergency and Response." Disaster Manage Response 2005;3:106-11. Also available at Emergency Preparedness Monthly, October 2006:



Emergency readiness has become a public health priority for United States communities after the 9/11 attacks. Communities that have a less developed public health infrastructure are challenged to organize preparedness and response efforts and to ensure that health care providers are capable of caring for victims of terrorist acts. A survey was used to assess nonurban physicians’ prior experience with and selfconfidence in treating, and preferred training needs for responding to chemical, biologic, radiologic, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) cases. Data were collected through a mailed and Web-based survey. Although the response rate was calculated at 30%, approximately one third of the surveys were not able to be delivered. Most respondents reported never having seen or treated CBRNE-inflicted cases and were not confident in their ability to diagnose or treat CBRNE cases, but many were willing to participate in a state-led response plan. Almost half of the individuals had not participated in any related training but expressed interest in receiving training in small group workshops or through CD-ROM. These results provide potential direction for strategic preparedness planning for non-urban health care providers.