By: Glen Mays, PhD, MPH

For those of you attending the 2019 National Preparedness Summit in St. Louis next week, please join us for a very special Learning Session exploring real-world examples of how a seemingly simple set of data points can be used to attract new partners, shift mindsets, and drive changes in practice and policy.  You may think you are familiar with the National Health Security Preparedness Index and TFAH’s Ready or Not report – the metrics, data sources, charts and figures. But how much do you really know about getting beyond the numbers and strategically using metrics to help communities become better prepared for the constellation of health hazards they face?

This session will feature real-world, on-the-ground examples of how the Index is being used as a force of engagement, activation and improvement.  In pulling this event together, I am extremely fortunate to be joined by Dara Lieberman, MPP, of the Trust for America’s Health, and Darrell Small, CEM, an emergency management professional who works closely with the federal Community Preparedness Initiative in sites across the U.S.  Dara and Darrell have a wealth of experience on how to engage community and policy stakeholders in the work of preparedness, and how to use metrics as powerful levers in this task.

Along the way, I will foreshadow some of the new data and metrics that will be released later this spring as part of the 2019 release of the National Health Security Preparedness Index, coming in May.

The Index measures health security capabilities from a broad, multi-sector perspective, so it includes and extends beyond the public health sector to reach medical care, emergency management, transportation, schools, employers, civil engineers, public utilities and others.  But who plays the part of mobilizing, coordinating, and assessing these collective actions in preparedness? Who makes strategic use of data to drive the system as a whole forward?

Our Learning Session at the Preparedness Summit will be held on Thursday, March 28, 3:30-5 p.m., in Room 220 of the St Louis Convention Center Complex.  If you can’t make the Summit this year, look for our Index team at other meetings this spring and summer, including the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, the National Environmental Health Association Meeting, the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop, and more to come.

Glen P. Mays PhD, MPH is the Scutchfield Endowed Professor of Health Services and Systems Research at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. His research examines delivery and financing systems for health services, with a focus on estimating their effects on population health and economic efficiency.