Past Research Project: NC Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center

NC Preparedness and Emergency Responce Research Center


The North Carolina Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (NCPERRC) was one of nine centers at schools of public health funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2008 to 2014 to strengthen and improve public health preparedness capacity through systems and services research. Housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Center engaged researchers from many disciplines and North Carolina practice partners in four main research as well as pilot projects. Dr. Edward Baker served as the Center’s principal investigator, and the team of researchers was drawn from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The NCPERRC advisory group, called the Synergy & Translation Committee, had representation from the NC Association of Local Health Directors, senior staff from the NC Division of Public Health, and research consultants from the University of Kentucky as well as UNC-Chapel Hill.

The four primary NCPERRC research projects studied North Carolina public health systems that can or may play a role in preparedness and response capacity, including:

  • Health department accreditation
  • Surveillance systems
  • Regional preparedness teams
  • Health alert network
  • Vulnerable populations

The field of Public Health Systems and Services Research (PHSSR) informs the work of all the Center’s projects. PHSSR examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services at local, state and national levels and the impact of these activities on population health. (Mays GP, Halverson PK, and Scutchfield FD. Behind the curve? What we know and need to learn from public health systems research.  J Public Health Manag Pract. 2003;9:179-82.) This type of research relies on methodologies and expertise from a variety to disciplines. The NCPERRC project teams included researchers from epidemiology, industrial and systems engineering, library and information science, health behavior, city and regional planning, health policy and administration, and other fields.  Additional PHSSR information at the University of Kentucky Center for Public Health Systems & Services Research.

The contributions of our research collaborators were recognized from the Center’s beginning.  The Synergy & Translation Committee adopted a pledge to research collaborators: “When we request your participation in one of our research studies, we make the following pledge to you.  We will coordinate our requests for information to ensure that there is no duplication of requested information; be considerate of your time and priorities; acknowledge your contribution to our research by recognizing your organization (to maintain your confidentiality); and share our research findings with you.”

Research briefs

Research Briefs are short descriptions of research findings and the implications for practice for an audience of public health practitioners in North Carolina and nationwide. Created by NCPERRC researchers during or immediately after research was completed, many of the research briefs were disseminated prior to publication of the findings in a peer-reviewed journal or conference. Here are the Research Briefs prepared by each NCPERRC project:

Accreditation and Public Health Preparedness

Public Health Surveillance Systems

Regionalization of Public Health Preparedness Workforce Infrastructure

Engineering the North Carolina Health Alert Network

Expansion of the Vulnerable & At-Risk Populations Resource Guide


Over the 6 years of NCPERRC research, 166 publications, presentations and posters were disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. View the complete NCPERRC bibliography.


This research was carried out by the North Carolina Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (NCPERRC) which is part of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Grant 1PO1 TP 000296. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.