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Center for Health Security receives $399K grant from Rockefeller Foundation to create scalable checklist for nations to assess health system resilience and a guide to making improvements

Center News


January 22, 2018 – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has received a $399,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to create a resilience checklist and implementation guide that health systems can use to assess whether they are prepared to maintain essential functions during an emergency.

Faced with a major disaster or infectious disease outbreak, the people and organizations that promote, restore, and maintain a community’s health should be able to successfully treat the sick and protect the well. Doing so requires skilled clinicians, fully staffed and equipped healthcare facilities, public health monitoring and case management, clinical care research and protocols, and numerous other capabilities and capacities assessed in detail by the Center’s checklist.

“Without the benefits of an adaptive, robust, and resilient health system, response efforts could exacerbate the toll of a high-threat event,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH, a senior scholar at the Center and the project’s principal investigator. “We’ve seen this problem in recent outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, and SARS, when ill-prepared healthcare environments inadvertently increased the spread of disease. Our project endeavors to link the work already being done to strengthen health system functions with concurrent work on policies to improve global health security.”

Nuzzo’s project team includes co-investigator David Bishai, MD, PhD, professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Eric Toner, MD, a senior scholar at the Center; and Center analysts Diane Meyer, RN, MPH, and Michael Snyder, MA. Their work will be informed by themes gleaned from a comprehensive review of relevant literature and key takeaways from dozens of interviews with experts in healthcare preparedness, health systems strengthening, global health security, epidemic response and management, and community and health system resilience. They plan to pilot a draft checklist in partnership with a host country in late 2018 before finalizing the checklist and companion implementation guide for wide distribution in early 2019.

There is currently no overarching international assessment framework that addresses the resources within health systems necessary for treating patients, or that considers the interdependence of health systems with other sectors (eg, critical infrastructure, supply chains, regulations and other legal protections). The Center’s resilience checklist will fill these gaps.

“Ensuring global health security is a monumental challenge,” said Nuzzo. “We are grateful for The Rockefeller Foundation’s support of this important work and their bold leadership on countless other initiatives that promote the well-being of people all over the world.”

Nuzzo and her team will identify a pilot country for the checklist based on recommendations from the World Bank.

This project builds on the Center’s prior health system resilience work that analyzed the US domestic response to Ebola in 2014 and regional response to Hurricane Sandy.

About The Rockefeller Foundation:
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visit

About the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security:
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security works to protect people from epidemics and disasters and build resilient communities through innovative scholarship, engagement, and research that strengthens the organizations, systems, policies, and programs essential to preventing and responding to public health crises. The Center is part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is located in Baltimore, MD.