The UCLA School of Public Health has received a major grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a center that will facilitate research to strengthen the ability of federal, state and local public health agencies to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and human-induced disasters, including terrorism.
The award, which totals $4.8 million over four years, will allow the school's Center for Public Health and Disasters (CPHD) to build on more than two decades of experience in addressing the critical issues faced when a disaster impacts a community. The new Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) will be directed by Kimberley Shoaf, associate director of the CPHD and an associate professor of community health sciences.
The grant will support three independent research projects designed to explore the interorganizational cooperation necessary to create and sustain a public health system that is resilient to disasters. These research projects will:
- Improve collaboration between local school systems and public health agencies to enhance preparedness.
- Build effective public health partnerships with community-based and faith-based organizations for disaster readiness.
- Conduct community-based participatory research to develop environmental health emergency resilience.
"A coordinated public health system is critical to ensure an effective, timely response to public health emergencies and disasters," Shoaf said. "This new center will enable UCLA to develop evidence-based tools to help local, state and federal entities prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and human-induced disasters."
The UCLA School of Public Health is one of nine accredited U.S. schools of public health to receive CDC funding to conduct research that will evaluate the structure, capabilities and performance of public health systems for preparedness and emergency response activities. The establishment of the new PERRCs is mandated by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006, which calls for research to improve federal, state, local and tribal public health preparedness and response systems.
The UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters was established in 1997 to address the critical issues faced when disaster impacts a community. The center facilitates interaction between public health and medicine, engineering, physical and social sciences, and emergency management. The CPHD collaborates with state and local public health agencies, community-based organizations, schools, hospitals and agencies in the public and private sector.
The UCLA School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals, translating research into policy and practice, and serving local, national and international communities.