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Emergency Preparedness & Response

ORAU understands the increasing demand on our nation’s healthcare and public health systems to prepare for, respond to, and recover from pandemics, natural disasters, terrorism, and other unforeseen, disruptive events. The integration of public health, healthcare, and emergency management systems before, during, and after these events help agencies reduce duplication and meet increased requirements and demands when an emergency occurs. ORAU’s experienced team uses this holistic approach to enhance a community or agencies resilience in support of national health security efforts.

ORAU has more than three decades of real-world operational experience supporting national and global preparedness programs and responses, including the Ebola outbreak in the U.S. and West Africa, as well as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact Areas

What we offer

Our experts work with federal, state, and local public health and healthcare agencies to promote evidence-based practices and programs that protect communities from threats. These services include:

  • Automation of emergency management processes
  • Community capacity building
  • Emergency public information and warning
  • Emergency response support and training
  • Strategic planning
  • Preparedness products (e.g., guidance, toolkits) development
  • Exercise and drill design, facilitation, and evaluation
  • Medical countermeasures planning
  • Medical surge planning

Who we serve

  • Federal, state, local, and territorial public health departments
  • Healthcare systems
  • Preparedness professionals
  • National preparedness organizations and agencies
Firemen load a patient into an ambulance

Community capacity building & medical surge planning

ORAU has experience working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthcare Preparedness and Response Team to improve healthcare responses during a pandemic or other public health emergency.

These collaborative community efforts brought together representatives from healthcare agencies and organizations, public health departments, emergency management agencies, and community support organizations to focus on healthcare surge in frontier, rural, and urban settings.

During a series of workshops, ORAU and CDC-HPA observed that many communities' resources were limited during a public health emergency. Moreover, ORAU and CDC-HPA observed that many of these communities had not coordinated among organizations not previously involved in preparedness planning. In particular, many communities had not identified resources in non-healthcare related organizations that may be able to support a response, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and businesses.

These community engagements helped identify pressing healthcare preparedness planning needs at the local level and subsequently informed the collaborative development of several preparedness resources. The co-developed resources are listed below, organized by setting.

Medical countermeasures planning

ORAU understands the multi-faceted components necessary to ensure communities and partners have plans and processes in place to receive and provide life-saving medicines and supplies, also known as medical countermeasures (MCMs). Our experts work with federal, state, local, and territorial agencies to advance medical countermeasure readiness planning and operations.

ORAU offers more than three decades of real-world experiences supporting federal agencies, public health departments, and national preparedness organizations promote evidence-based practices to advance medical countermeasure readiness.

Specific areas of expertise:

  • MCM text messaging programs
  • Development of emergency response plans for distribution sites
  • Operational readiness assessment
  • Point of dispensing drills
  • Private and public partner coordination
  • Stockpile and distribution planning

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s public health and healthcare solutions, contact Freddy Gray at (865) 576-0029 or