NCCPHP launches SHARP, new emergency preparedness program

 
 

The North Carolina Institute for Public Health’s N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness has launched a new program to aid state and local public health agencies with emergency preparedness and other community-wide public health concerns.

The Institute is part of UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The new program, called SHARP, for Spatial Health Assessment and Research Program, will assist the agencies with data collection and spatial analysis projects.
 
Based on collaborative work done by the preparedness center, the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, and North Carolina’s Public Health Regional Surveillance Teams, SHARP formalizes the geographic information systems (GIS) technical assistance that the center has offered to local N.C. health departments and other states since 2003.
 
North Carolina has been a national leader in the use of GIS to carry out rapid assessments.
Random cluster sampling schemes, developed in the 1960s by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have been used effectively to estimate public health needs in many settings.
 
These include assessment of immunization coverage, diarrheal and respiratory disease morbidity, and health service needs. In North Carolina, the sampling schemes have been used to carry out rapid needs assessments after hurricanes, implement health assessments to gather community-wide input on health concerns, and assess community intentions regarding topics as diverse as hurricane evacuation and influenza vaccination.
 
Student volunteers at Team Epi-Aid have participated in many of the center’s data collection efforts.
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To learn more about SHARP or to request assessment assistance, visit the center’s website at http://nccphp.sph.unc.edu/sharpgis/index.htm, or email sharpgis@unc.edu.
 
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact:David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 966-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.