UW News

October 17, 2023

CDC funds UW to take first steps toward regional public health emergency preparedness center

UW News

The University of Washington’s new Center for Disaster Resilient Communities, or CDRC, has been selected to lead development of a workplan for a regional public health emergency preparedness and response center that will help prepare the Northwest for disasters and emergencies.  

Under a $1.8 million contract with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the UW will convene partners across Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon to develop a workplan to establish a future regional Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. The UW will also support development of a tribal-specific workplan that addresses the public health emergency preparedness and response needs and priorities of tribal partners across the region, as well as develop a model for a regional data ecosystem that can support the uptake of evidence-based strategies in public health emergency preparedness and response.  

“This funding will support a partner-driven process to shape a future center for evidence-informed public health emergency preparedness and response that serves the needs of community and government partners in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington,” said Nicole Errett, CDRC director and a UW assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences.  

“We are really excited to bring together community, tribal, healthcare, public health practice, emergency management and other partners to identify focus areas for the center and approaches the center can take to support their work.”  

There will be a separate competitive funding opportunity to develop the Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response itself, which will become part of a nationwide network of such centers.  

Launched in September, the CDRC brings together the full breadth and depth of the UW’s expertise in disaster science to help build resilient communities. The center seeks to unite more than 100 UW faculty from across the university, including disaster researchers, engineers, data and environmental scientists, as well as experts in public health, medicine, nursing and public policy and planning.  

Those experts will offer resources, training, technical assistance and evidence-based solutions to help communities prepare themselves for potential disasters. Researchers will also collaborate with community, tribal and government partners to identify each community’s specific needs and implement tailored solutions.  

The Center is supported by the UW’s Population Health Initiative, a university-wide effort that fosters a collaborative approach to improving human health, environmental resilience, and social and economic equity.  

For more information, contact Resham Patel at rapatel@uw.edu.