Center for Health Security study helps ensure US communities can evaluate, advance resiliency to disasters using COPEWELL model
January 11, 2023 – The Composite of Post-Event Well-Being (COPEWELL) project, funded through grants and contracts provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2011, is an evidence-based model and collection of tools and resources that foster a community-wide approach to better defining and understanding the relationship between resilience and disasters. Communities can use COPEWELL’s data-driven tools and resources to assess and identify gaps in community functioning and resilience before, during, and after disasters.
In 2020-2022, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security undertook a feasibility study to ensure that public health professionals, emergency preparedness practitioners, and other stakeholders engaged in improving community functioning and resilience can use the COPEWELL website without external support or technical assistance.
With input from 3 previous COPEWELL communities and 6 newly recruited jurisdictions, the research team explored a range of ways that users can take advantage of COPEWELL tools and resources. The team also refined the website and developed new COPEWELL resources to ensure the model and its tools can be used with limited technical assistance. Over the course of the project, several improvements to the COPEWELL website were made to increase sustainability and independent use, including the development of a getting started guide, introductory videos, use case descriptions, and improved accessibility.
Overall, users found the website and its resources to be very valuable and directly relevant to their work on resilience, including communicating a complex concept to broad audiences and establishing their own processes and procedures (eg, community health assessment). Additionally, they were able to use COPEWELL materials with little to no technical assistance. For example:
- Emergency preparedness staff with the Tennessee Department of Health used the COPEWELL rubric on population vulnerability, inequality, and deprivation to help gather more information for jurisdictional risk assessments.
- A team of social scientists and public health researchers from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa adapted the self-assessment portions of COPEWELL to advance their work in connection with community health workers in the Black Belt region of the state.
Because of this feasibility study—including the collaborative approach undertaken with partners on the ground and in communities—the COPEWELL tools and website are now well-positioned to adaptably support the work of widely different communities across the nation in advancing their resilience in data-informed, relationship-driven, locally relevant, and sustainable ways. Additionally, COPEWELL is positioned to have an enduring impact on community functioning and resilience throughout the country, enhancing the reach of and contributions from the CDC.
Learn more about COPEWELL at copewellmodel.org.