This paper describes a six-step model to improve the capacity of public health agencies responding to any hazardous event. Developed through a partnership with an academic center and a local public health agency, the model incorporates lessons learned in the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) Public Health Ready (PHR) pilot study conducted in 2003. The proposed model integrates aspects of two existing approaches with concepts from the field of emergency management, and emphasizes the importance of timely evaluation. The evaluation of the model includes both individuals workers and larger work groups. It addresses both general goals and the agency's local plan. The model also stresses the need to work with all levels of the agency to develop the local plan. In the model, evaluation is accomplished using self-assessment, measures of objective knowledge, ratings of individual performance, and ratings of team performance. Though based on a pilot study, the model may have application for other agencies working to increase their capacity to respond to hazardous events.
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