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Facilitating Partnerships With Community- and Faith-Based Organizations for Disaster Preparedness and Response: Results of a National Survey of Public Health Departments

  • Rachel M. Adams (a1) (a2), Michael L. Prelip (a1) (a2), Deborah C. Glik (a1) (a2), Ian Donatello (a3) and David P. Eisenman (a1) (a2)...



We identify characteristics of local health departments, which enhance collaborations with community- and faith-based organizations (CFBOs) for emergency preparedness and response.


Online survey data were collected from a sample of 273 disaster preparedness coordinators working at local health departments across the United States between August and December 2011.


Using multiple linear regression models, we found that perceptions of CFBO trust were associated with more successful partnership planning (β=0.63; P=0.02) and capacity building (β=0.61; P=0.01). Employee layoffs in the past 3 years (β=0.41; P=0.001) and urban location (β=0.41; P=0.005) were positively associated with higher ratings of resource sharing between health agencies and CFBOs. Having 1-3 full-time employees increased the ratings of success in communication and outreach activities compared with health departments having less than 1 full-time employee (β=0.33; P=0.05). Positive attitudes toward CFBOs also enhanced communication and outreach (β=0.16; P=0.03).


Staff-capacity factors are important for quick dissemination of information and resources needed to address emerging threats. Building the trust of CFBOs can help address large-scale disasters by improving the success of more involved activities that integrate the CFBO into emergency plans and operations of the health department and that better align with federal-funding performance measures. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:57–66)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Rachel M. Adams, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, 640 Charles E Young Drive S, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (e-mail:


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