State highly ranked in emergency health preparedness

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10:05 a.m., Dec. 16, 2009----The state of Delaware is one of eight in the nation to achieve the highest scores in a study of the ability of states to respond to public health emergencies.

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The seventh annual report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” was issued Dec. 15 by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities.

The state of Delaware achieved nine out of 10 indicators, tying for the highest score with Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Vermont. Nearly two thirds of states scored seven or less, and 20 states scored six or less.

The key preparedness indicators were developed in consultation with leading public health experts based on data from publicly available sources or information provided by public officials.

According to the report, investments made in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years dramatically improved U.S. readiness for the H1N1 outbreak. At the same time, it found that decades of underfunding meant that many core systems were not at-the-ready.

The full report, along with the list of indicators and scores, is available online at the Web sites of Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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