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ORISE Develops Community Assessment Tool for the CDC

Community Assessment Tool

Community Assessment Tool for Public Health Emergencies

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) developed the Community Assessment Tool (CAT) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) Healthcare Preparedness Activity (HPA).

The CAT is a tool that communities can use to assess their total health care readiness for a disaster—not just hospitals, but the entire health care system. Thus, the goal of the CAT is to help strengthen existing preparedness plans by allowing the health care system and other agencies to work together during a pandemic.

The CAT helps reveal each core agency partners’ (sectors) capabilities and resources and highlights cases of the same vendors being used for resource supplies (e.g., personal protective equipment and oxygen) by the partners (e.g., public health departments, clinics or hospitals).

This tool also addresses gaps in the community’s capabilities or potential shortages in resources.

While the purpose of the CAT is to further prepare a community for a pandemic, its framework is an extension of the traditional all-hazards approach to planning and preparedness. As such, the information gathered by the tool is useful in preparation for most widespread public health emergencies.

The CAT was initially used in 2008 as a way to obtain an assessment of the communities of Champaign-Urbana, Ill., and Winston-Salem, N.C., in preparation for the first Workshop on Community Partnerships for Pandemic Influenza Planning sponsored by the CDC.

For the next three years, the CAT was tested in a series of CDC sponsored pandemic influenza preparedness workshops and stakeholder meetings and was reviewed by national and CDC subject matter experts.