July 24, 2009

Study profiles response during pandemic

Nearly 16 percent of U.S. public health workers interviewed for a survey said they would not report for work during a pandemic emergency, authorities said.

The findings were part of a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md.

Our study is an attempt to understand the underlying factors that determine an employee's willingness to respond in an emergency, Professor Daniel Barnett, the study's lead author, said in a release Friday.

The survey was conducted online with 1,835 public health workers in Minnesota, Ohio and West Virginia from November 2006 to December 2007.

Workers who were concerned about the threat posed by a pandemic, and who were confident they would make a difference were 31 times more likely to respond to work in an emergency than those who perceived the threat low and had low levels of confidence, Barnett said.

Our results could help preparedness planners to identify workforce needs and develop strategies for improving worker response, Barnett said.