Year 2 summary report on results of focus groups and CRT interviews conducted about plague
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Year 2 summary report on results of focus groups and CRT interviews conducted about plague

Filetype[PDF-594.60 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Pre­Event Message Development Project Year 2 final report ­ Plague
    • Description:
      The emerging global threat of terrorism has stimulated much activity and resource mobilization within the public health community over the past three years, as terrorist acts can have a direct and often serious impact on the physical and mental health of the general population. One concern has been to assure that the health care system has the capacity to respond in an emergency. Establishing drug stockpiles, emergency system improvements, and health provider and first responder training have thus proliferated at national, state and local levels. Another concern has been the preparation of communications plans and materials for the general public. The very real threat of terrorist action requires the design, development, and dissemination of technically accurate and timely information.

      Recognizing this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in concert with the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Bioterrorism Council, responded by supporting the “Pre­Event Message Development Project” (PEMD). This project provided funding in the Fall of 2002 to four primary schools of public health (Saint Louis University, University of Alabama­Birmingham, University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Oklahoma) along with several partnering schools. The four University teams working on this project were selected as each brought different skills, perspectives and experience each could bring to the overall project goals of learning how to best communicate critical information related to what audiences want as well as the information that the research team, CDC, and the ASPH Bioterrorism Council, recognize as needs to be known. The basic charge the four Pre­event teams have addressed in the first two years of the project is how to develop and evaluate pre­ event messages relevant for bioterrorism events for the general population, using well designed formative research to define, craft, and pre­test crisis communications messages.

      What evolved through a participatory, collaborative process was the opportunity to do research on this topic that was groundbreaking, and strengthened by the degree findings can be generalized by using standardized methods across institutions and samples of persons from culturally and geographically diverse backgrounds. Initially the teams debated whether it would be more useful and efficient to focus on generic all­hazards prevention issues and messages to be used to educate the public prior to an event, or to focus the research on different types of agents that could be used for warning systems before during and after an intentional attack. We decided to do agent­specific research as our perception was that other researchers were conducting research on all hazards prevention. This is based on literature that differentiates disaster warnings and responses from public hazard education. The latter involves general knowledge that can be transmitted independent of the hazardous event. Disaster warnings and responses are event specific and happen either right before, during, or after an event. (Mileti and Fitzpatrick 1991; Mileti and Sorensen 1988). These messages are important in regards to saving lives, reducing unnecessary service utilization, facilitating relief efforts, and reducing anxiety among the general public.

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