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Preparedness Policy Issues


Federal Funding for Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Implications and Ongoing Issues for Local Health Departments

August 2007

This report describes the results of two surveys conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials that examine the local impact of changes in federal funding for public health preparedness. In recent years, federal funding to support all-hazards preparedness has declined dramatically, and there is concern about the negative impact of these cuts on LHDs’ new preparedness programs.

Some of the key findings from this study include:


  • Nineteen percent of LHDs feel that they are now “highly prepared” for an emergency; however, 77 percent of LHDs felt they have made improvements but more improvement is needed;
  • The average amounts of CDC funding that LHDs received for all-hazards preparedness and the Cities Readiness Initiative declined by 20 percent and 29 percent respectively between FY05 and FY06;
  • Due to cuts in their funding, 28 percent of LHDs reduced staff time on preparedness, 27 percent were forced to delay the completion of preparedness plans and 17 percent delayed or canceled workforce training;
  • Fifty-six percent of LHDs reported that CDC funding is not sufficient to meet their deliverables;
  • LHDs’ top three needs to meet preparedness deliverables are additional qualified staff, additional funding, and additional time to spend funds effectively; and
  • The three occupations most difficult to hire are emergency preparedness planners, epidemiologists, and nurses.


This survey demonstrates that sustained federal funding and support for public health preparedness is needed to continue the progress that LHDs have made and to help them address the challenges of new and emerging threats.

For more information, please contact Vicki Johnson.