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 NC Public Health Tops in Preparedness

Release Date: December 15, 2009
Contact: Bill Furney, 919-715-4174

RALEIGH – North Carolina and six other states today received the country’s highest public health readiness ratings issued by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  North Carolina – along with Arkansas, Delaware, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont – are shown as having met nine of the 10 readiness indicators as established by Trust. 

The ratings and the parameters used to determine state public health readiness are reported in the Trust’s seventh “2009 Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism” report.  While the Trust found that the H1N1 flu outbreak has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies, North Carolina was not shown to be lacking in that area.  The report also indicates that “the economic crisis is straining an already fragile public health system” and is the only indicator where the Tar Heel state was reported to be unsatisfactory.

“While we are pleased and proud to have done so well in the TFAH report again this year, it also is sobering to know that we are one of numerous states dealing with funding issues,” State Health Director Jeffrey Engel said.  “Obviously, adequate funding is essential to maintaining these high standards and our high state of readiness.  The TFAH report tells us that we are doing a great job despite having fewer resources.”

The other nine indicators reviewed by the Trust include:

  • Mass Distribution -- State Antiviral Purchases
  • Hospital Preparedness -- Hospital Bed Availability Reporting
  • Public Health Laboratories -- Lab Pick Up and Delivery Services
  • Public Health Laboratories -- Surge Workforce
  • Biosurveillance -- NEDSS (National Electronic Disease Surveillance System) Compatibility
  • Food Safety -- Detection and Diagnosis
  • Medical Reserve Corps Readiness
  • Community Resiliency -- Children and Preparedness
  • Legal Preparedness -- Entity Emergency Liability Protection

For more information about TFAH and the report, please visit healthyamericans.org.  For more information about preparedness efforts and North Carolina’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, please visit www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/phpr and flu.nc.gov.