Kentucky is one of 18 states scoring above the national average when it comes to preparedness for health-related emergencies. The national index program is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Measures like flu vaccination rates, number of hospitals, and presence of food inspection programs are all used in charting the National Health Security Preparedness Index.
A University of Kentucky team manages the index. Health Police Professor Glen Mays says Kentucky’s health surveillance efforts are sound. “The state’s ability to use existing data to give early warning signals of where there may be health problems that are popping up, spikes in disease or injury that may signify a growing emergency,” explained Mays.
Mays says the index score relates to health issues caused by natural disasters as well as high-profile medical threats like the Zika Virus. Although making gains, Mays says, communities across the Commonwealth need to develop stronger ties, “How well are we engaging the variety of sectors that need to play a role in preparedness.” Mays added, “Engaging those sectors in working collaboratively in planning preparations.”
Needed improvements in community planning and engagement could involve schools, nursing homes, and health care providers.