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Integrating Community Pediatricians into Public Health Preparedness & Response

Integrating Community Pediatricians into Public Health Preparedness and Response Activities in PennsylvaniaTo improve community preparedness in Pennsylvania and build the commonwealth’s capacity to care for children in disasters, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) engaged the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication (CPHRC) at the Dornsife School of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) to develop a plan to integrate community pediatricians into disaster preparedness efforts. The purpose of this project was to use a systems-based approach to identify the challenges that community pediatricians face with respect to preparedness and to formulate recommendations that redress those challenges. The emphasis was on pediatricians practicing in ambulatory settings, as most prior efforts to improve preparedness in healthcare systems have focused on the work of acute care hospitals and other inpatient facilities.

The CPHRC and PA AAP initiated a collaborative planning process with pediatricians, practice managers, government agency leaders, representatives from the school and childcare communities, and experts in health information technology in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Over three dozen interviews and two collaborative planning meetings provided information regarding the needs of pediatricians and public health agencies during disasters, and helped identify ways to improve the coordination of these sectors during incidents that impact the health of children.

The following documents are offered as tools to assist both community pediatricians and local health departments in mutual planning and understanding of each other's needs and capabilities: