The nature of the public health emergency preparedness literature 2000-2008: A quantitative analysis

Valerie A. Yeager, Nir Menachemi, Lisa C. McCormick, Peter M. Ginter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study characterizes the nature, size, and knowledge gaps of the public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) literature. Methods: Systematic review of PHEP articles published in 10 relevant journals from 2000 through 2008 was conducted. An inclusion process and coding sheet was developed; articles were coded on the basis of content for variables, including type of methods used, disaster type, disaster life cycle focus, and article focal point. Descriptive analyses and cross-tabulations were used to characterize the nature of the literature. Results: The sample included 823 articles; human-made disasters (39.4%, n = 323) were the most common, followed by natural disasters (30.7%, n = 252). The preparedness life cycle phase represented 60.5% (n = 497) of articles. Overall, 67.8% (n = 558) of articles were nonempirical; however, this differed by disaster type and focal point. Discussion: Most of the PHEP literature is based on commentaries and other nonempirical articles forcing policymakers and practitioners to rely on weak anecdotal evidence or opinions for decision making. Several literature gaps are identified and presented as areas for future research. More research utilizing diverse methods and data sets is needed to build a strong evidence-based knowledge base on many PHEP topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Disaster
  • Emergency
  • Preparedness
  • Public health
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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