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Current projects

The Center is currently engaged in several different interdisciplinary projects.

Current research projects

The Center has launched a project strengthen and expand bi-directional partnerships with Tribal governments across Washington state and the Pacific Northwest who are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards. This work includes working collaboratively with Tribes to identify key information needs, determine key topical areas of joint interest and engage in scenario-based discussions, all while respecting Tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and traditional natural and ecological knowledge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has contracted with the University of Washington via the Center for Disaster Resilient Communities to establish regional entities to coordinate and improve public health preparedness and response, develop five-year work plans for each region that include regional focus areas, and prioritize efforts to implement evidence-informed or evidence-based practices to improve public health preparedness and response.

The specific tasks the Center is leading are:

  1. Developing a work plan for a Region X (i.e., Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) Center for Public Health Preparedness and Response to improve the uptake of evidence-informed and evidence-based strategies and interventions (EBSIs) in public health emergency preparedness and response (PHEPR) practice among state, local, and tribal public health agencies and their partners.
  2. Creating a distinct work plan to improve PHEPR EBSIs uptake aligned with Region X tribal and rural communities’ priorities, especially important and regionally relevant as Region X has the greatest number of federally recognized tribes (271) of all Health and Human Services (HHS) regions, and a high degree of rurality across all four component states.
  3. Establishing plans and processes to develop a regional data ecosystem model that supports PHEPR EBSI development and implementation.

The field of public health preparedness has changed significantly with evolving approaches and priorities, including but not limited to learnings from the COVID pandemic response and greater emphasis on the critical roles of equity, community resilience and partnerships. Given these changes and the shifts in the broader public health workforce, this study aims to examine competencies needed for the existing and future public health preparedness and response workforce in the United States. Through a series of focus group discussions with experienced public health preparedness practitioners across the country, this project is identifying key themes that can inform competencies that guide educational programs and workforce training for public health workforce preparedness moving forward.

The goal of PHEER is to serve as the coordinating platform for the public health disaster research community of practice. The network, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through supplemental funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is able to mobilize rapidly, inform evolving disaster research agendas and funding decisions and advance the field of public health disaster science. Nicole Errett, Director of the Center for Disaster Resilient Communities, serves as a member of PHEER’s leadership team with colleagues from New York University, UCLA and the University of Delaware. Learn more by visiting the PHEER website.

This project seeks to establish a collaborative network between practitioners and academics to share recent innovations and identify partnership opportunities that advance public health and improve community resilience in the face of increasing extreme heat. The project, which is funded by Urban@UW, will focus on improving the evidence base around extreme heat interventions in urban settings, identifying future research needs and strengthening regional public health collaboration in the Puget Sound region.