Public Health’s Role in Disaster Preparedness

In the fall of 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) challenged all Americans, regardless of their discipline, field or expertise, to pitch their ideas about how to prepare their communities before disasters strike and how the government should support community-based activities to help everyone be more prepared. The winning submission was a program called “Map Your Neighborhood” designed to encourage neighbors to draw evacuation and rescue maps, as well as list the resources and services each neighbor would provide in the event of a disaster. The idea was simple, did not require a large group to participate, and taught the skills of preparedness.

Preparedness and public health are practically synonymous. You cannot be a public health professional without thinking about your role in potential emergencies. Devastating disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the attacks on 9/11 have re-confirmed the fact that preparedness is key to rebuilding a community post disaster. But they have also helped public health professionals realize their efforts can be greater if they align with others in their community.

Building and strengthening community-based disaster coalitions in not a new concept, but strengthening and strategically aligning the efforts of the government with other organizations and businesses in the community is certainly gaining more momentum.

Florida is certainly making great strides in developing and strengthening their county coalitions. Read about their efforts on the CDC’s Public Health Matters Blog post entitled: “Creating and Strengthening Community-based Coalitions.”

Consider the role of disaster planning and preparedness as you fill out your Professional Development Action Plan. Is this part of your career path? What about completing a training or taking a course on this topic as a way to fulfill the FPHTC OMP program guidelines?


Course: Public Health – Systems, Services and Practice

We need strong public health institutions to respond to any challenge. We need to deal with critical infrastructure. The reality is that very little money has flowed to communities to help our first responders; to help our hospitals; to help the public health infrastructure.
– Robert Menendez, New Jersey Senator

If you are newly discovering the world of public health in Florida and are interested in learning more about the role of the public health system within the local, state, and national infrastructure, then here’s the course for you. Public health professionals who take the course “Public Health – System, Services and Practice” learn how public health operates with a larger system, as well as, the social, political, and economic factors that impact an organization’s functions.

This course was developed to meet three of the 8 Public Health Core Competencies in the Leadership and Systems’ Thinking domain.

OFFERED BY: USF Health’s Center for Leadership in Public Health Practice (CLPHP)
: Free
REGISTRATION: Go to CLPHP’s course page for instructions.

Making Professional Introductions

In order to expand a your own professional network, you must be able to make successful professional introductions. Whether it’s introducing one co-worker to another colleague at an industry conference or recommending a Twitter user during #followfriday.

Public Health professionals are actively networking in order to align their efforts and strengthen their role in their communities. In order to network effectively, you should know the differences in etiquette when making introductions in-person versus via email or on Twitter.

Watch the presentation below to refresh yourself with a few tips on making successful professional introductions!

(Click on the ARROW to begin the presentation.)

What is your mentorship role?

We are receiving several emails from potential program participants asking whether they should apply as mentor or a mentee. While you can self select the role you want to have in the mentorship program, it can be difficult to decide which one would be more beneficial at this stage in your career.

We have developed an interactive survey to take the guess work out of your decision. Simply answer a few questions and use the feedback to help you decide the role you want to have in our program!

Click HERE to take the interactive survey.