By: Glen Mays, PhD, MPH

We’re excited to announce the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as the inaugural Preparedness Index Innovator for 2017! We launched the Preparedness Innovator Challenge earlier this year to identify meaningful ways of using the National Health Security Preparedness Index to strengthen state and regional readiness for disasters, disease outbreaks and other large-scale emergencies that pose threats to population health.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is exemplary in its use of Index data to communicate the importance of preparedness across government agencies and with community stakeholders. The CDPHE team leverages Index data to establish priorities, identify gaps, and galvanize support for community wide preparedness across Colorado.

The CDPHE used Index data to create preparedness goals, and incorporated the data into its Implementation Plan and overall Strategic Plan. Through an analysis of the measures and data sources, the CDPHE is targeting areas of improvement within the department and identifying measures where more data are needed from community partners, such as hospitals, businesses, and school districts.

We asked Dane Matthew, director of CDPHE’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, how the Index was helpful to his agency’s work, and he said, “Measuring preparedness is extremely difficult because there are a number of factors, but you can’t improve what you haven’t measured. The Index has done the hard work for us. We know where we need to improve and have a starting point to build upon.”

Seeing this practical application of the Index is exciting and we are eager to follow CDPHE’s progress as the staff apply it to their work. Stay tuned for blog updates to learn more about how CDPHE is integrating measures into their strategic goals in our upcoming interview with Dane Matthew.


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.