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Evaluating Emergency Preparedness and Response Trainings: A Knowledge Repository
 
Introduction
In 2010, the Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLC) were funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue building upon public health workforce preparedness initiatives. The 14 PERLC, all located within Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited schools of public health, intended to improve workforce readiness and competence through the development, delivery, and evaluation of targeted learning products meeting the needs of state, local, and tribal partners. Program objectives were designed to align with the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) and the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS). Specific program objectives and priorities included developing and maintaining the proficiency of the public health workforce in support of national health security and ensuring the public health training systems that support national health security are based on the best available science.
 
Collectively, the PERLC supported organizational and community readiness locally, regionally, and nationally through the provision of technical consultation and dissemination of learning products and tools aligned with public health preparedness and response competencies and capabilities.
 
PERLC Network (back to top)
Fourteen PERLC located within CEPH accredited schools of public health participated in the PERLC network.
 
PERLC Evaluation Working Group Design (back to top)
In support of participating in evaluation activities to demonstrate the value of the trainings and measure the impact of these efforts, the PERLC organized a PERLC Evaluation Working Group (WG). The primary purpose of the WG was to inform and promote center-level and program-level evaluation across the network; identify common training evaluation methods and measures; and share materials, resources, and lessons learned with state, local, and tribal public health organizations (Hites, 2014). Additionally, the WG convened to develop standardized training evaluation measures. Using Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model (Kirkpatrick, 1996), the PERLC network established four evaluation sub-working groups to address each level of outcome evaluation: Level 1 (Reaction), Level 2 (Learning), Level 3 (Behavior), and Level 4 (Results). Each level of evaluation measures was framed within the PERLC program-level logic model. Group membership was drawn from PERLC evaluation expertise from across the nation, representing many disciplines of evaluation, including education, industrial/organizational psychology, and public health. Participants self-selected into specific Kirkpatrick level groups according to self-identified areas of subject matter expertise (Hites, 2014). 
 
Developing standardized measures across the four levels proved challenging given the varying needs and infrastructure across the different state, local, and tribal programs. Hence, the sub-WGs chose to develop tools and resources for conducting training evaluations easily adaptable to a program’s operating environment. The collection of these materials is presented as a knowledge repository designed to provide online access to training evaluation information to assist those with beginning to intermediate level evaluation skills.
  
Intended Use (back to top)
This knowledge repository is intended for the emergency preparedness and response workforce, including organizations, institutions, and programs, interested in improving and measuring the impact of their emergency preparedness and response learning products. Over the course of the PERLC program, evaluators have adopted the basic schema of Kirkpatrick’s four-level model and applied its structure towards evaluating a wide variety of trainings integral to the PERLC mission. Utilizing an overarching evaluation model across the PERLC network proved to be valuable, as it highlighted the importance of working within a network and the overall impact of the PERLC program (Hites, 2014).
 
Intended Audience (back to top)
State and local health departments, tribal public health professionals, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement and Hospital Preparedness Program awardees.
 
Evaluating Emergency Preparedness and Response Trainings: A Knowledge Repository