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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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Community Engagement: Leadership Tool for Catastrophic Health Events

Monica Schoch-Spana, Crystal Franco, Jennifer B. Nuzzo, Christiana Usenza, on behalf of the Working Group on Community Engagement in Health Emergency Planning
Date posted:
April 04, 2007
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2007;5(1):8-25

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Available on publisher's website
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Full article as PDF


Disasters and epidemics are immense and shocking disturbances that require the judgments and efforts of large numbers of people, not simply those who serve in an official capacity. This article reviews the Working Group on Community Engagement in Health Emergency Planning’s recommendations to government decision makers on why and how to catalyze the civic infrastructure for an extreme health event. Community engagement—defined here as structured dialogue, joint problem solving, and collaborative action among formal authorities, citizens at-large, and local opinion leaders around a pressing public matter—can augment officials’ abilities to govern in a crisis, improve application of communally held resources in a disaster or epidemic, and mitigate communitywide losses. The case of limited medical options in an influenza pandemic serves to demonstrate the civic infrastructure’s preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities and to illustrate how community engagement can improve pandemic contingency planning.



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