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Author Notes:

Corresponding author Email: James W Buehler* - jbuehle@sph.emory.edu

JB was the lead investigator and lead author of this report and was involved in all aspects of project development, study design, and implementation, including conducting interviews, analyzing interview notes, and interpreting the study results.

EW contributed to study design and implementation, including conducting interviews, analysis and interpretation of findings, and report preparation.

RB provided expertise in public-private partnerships and emergency preparedness, and she contributed to the development of study objectives, study design, interpretation of results, and report preparation.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Members of the project advisory group included representatives of the Metro Atlanta Region, Business Executives for National Security: Conrad "Connie" Busch, Jr., APR, Director, John H. H. Turner, III, Director and Program Manager of the Georgia Business Force, and Anthony Begando, CEO Tenon Consulting Solutions and BENS member; and representatives of the Office of Emergency Medical Services, Trauma, and Public Health Preparedness, Division of Public Health, Georgia Department of Human Resources: J. Patrick O'Neal, MD, Medical Director, Calita Richards, PharmD, MPH, State Strategic National Stockpile & CHEMPACK Coordinator, Lee Smith, Bioterrorism Program Coordinator.

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

JB serves as a consultant to the Georgia Division of Public Health, and RB has been an active proponent of public health and business partnerships in metropolitan Atlanta, including serving as the co-chair of the Business-Public Health Partnership Roundtable, organized under the auspices of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs of the Georgia Institute of Technology

Subjects:

Research Funding:

This project was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Officer Grant #B2006-1), which supported JB and EW.

RB was supported by a grant from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation to the Rollins School of Public Health Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research.

Business and public health collaboration for emergency preparedness in Georgia: a case study

Journal Title:

BMC Public Health

Volume:

Volume 6, Number 285

Publisher:

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF

Abstract:

Background Governments may be overwhelmed by a large-scale public health emergency, such as a massive bioterrorist attack or natural disaster, requiring collaboration with businesses and other community partners to respond effectively. In Georgia, public health officials and members of the Business Executives for National Security have successfully collaborated to develop and test procedures for dispensing medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. Lessons learned from this collaboration should be useful to other public health and business leaders interested in developing similar partnerships. Methods The authors conducted a case study based on interviews with 26 government, business, and academic participants in this collaboration. Results The partnership is based on shared objectives to protect public health and assure community cohesion in the wake of a large-scale disaster, on the recognition that acting alone neither public health agencies nor businesses are likely to manage such a response successfully, and on the realization that business and community continuity are intertwined. The partnership has required participants to acknowledge and address multiple challenges, including differences in business and government cultures and operational constraints, such as concerns about the confidentiality of shared information, liability, and the limits of volunteerism. The partnership has been facilitated by a business model based on defining shared objectives, identifying mutual needs and vulnerabilities, developing carefully-defined projects, and evaluating proposed project methods through exercise testing. Through collaborative engagement in progressively more complex projects, increasing trust and understanding have enabled the partners to make significant progress in addressing these challenges. Conclusion As a result of this partnership, essential relationships have been established, substantial private resources and capabilities have been engaged in government preparedness programs, and a model for collaborative, emergency mass dispensing of pharmaceuticals has been developed, tested, and slated for expansion. The lessons learned from this collaboration in Georgia should be considered by other government and business leaders seeking to develop similar partnerships.

Copyright information:

© 2006 Buehler et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).

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