Term of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

James Stephens

Committee Member 1

Gulzar Shah

Committee Member 2

Hani Samawi



Background: Disasters precipitate the need for public health organizations to be prepared for an emergency, both at the state and local level. Public health district preparedness is a significant concern considering its impact on the safety and welfare of the citizens and communities they serve. Currently, there are limited surveillance systems to assess the preparedness level of these entities that are required to comply with state regulations that govern how they should respond when faced with dangerous hazards. The purpose of this research is to identify whether significant relationships exist between public health districts and their assessment of their level of preparedness to recommend additional training or educational instruction to improve disaster readiness.

Methods: Data was collected from all eighteen public health districts in the State of Georgia through the GREaT Hazard Vulnerability Assessment System and included the fiscal years 2011 through 2014. Secondary analysis of the data was performed using the correlation coefficient method and bootstrapping at the 95% confidence interval level.

Results: There were no statistically significant relationships (p-values of 0.113; 0.185; 0.878>0.05) found between the overall risk assessment scores and what the public health districts identified as their top first, second and third most vulnerable hazard. There was a statistically significant linear relationship (p-value of 0.000

Conclusion: Findings show that those health districts in mostly rural areas were less vulnerable to disasters and those in mostly urban areas were more vulnerable to disasters listed in the top three hazard categories. Also, the public health districts with the lower number of hospital beds were at greater risk for disasters identified in the top three hazard categories.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Tuesday, April 13, 2027