Dr. Rowitz Presentation
Dr. Rowitz Presentation
Preparing for the Future: Public Health
Leadership & Management Preparedness Series
Preparedness & Leadership
Louis Rowitz, PhD, Director
Mid-America Regional Public Health
Northwest Center for Public Health Practice
• By the end of this session, you will be able to:
Describe the relative importance of crisis
management for current public health leaders.
Describe the seven competencies of crisis
Discuss three measures of success in
Describe the seven step crisis communication
Describe three lessons of crisis leadership.
We cannot live in a
post-September 11, 2001 world
with a pre-September 11, 2001 mind.
—adapted from Angela Thirkell, 1933
Traditional and Crisis Leadership
What are the
Fortune favors the prepared mind.
— Louis Pasteur
Definition of Crisis
A crisis is characterized by a high degree of
instability and carries the potential for extremely
negative results that can endanger the lives of
people in a community.
— Adapted from Klann
Types of Crises
• Natural disaster
• Act of war
• Toxic chemical release
• Hazardous material spill
• Crash or derailment
• Legal or judicial crisis
• Human resource/reputation
• Informational problem
• Strike or boycott
• Terrorist act
• Financial catastrophe
Warnings don’t get
headlines, crises do.
— Anderson Cooper
The New Public Health
How do I keep my
How prepared is your community to respond to
a public health crisis?
A. Prepared to manage all aspects that can be
B. Prepared to manage most important aspects
of a crisis.
C. Many important aspects of a crisis would not
be effectively managed.
D. We had better avoid a major crisis.
Public Health Response
Local Public Health
in Crisis Situations
Bioterrorism: Competencies for Leaders (1 of 2)
1. Describe the chain of command and
2. Communicate public health
accurately to all emergency response partners.
3. Maintain regular communication with
emergency response partners.
Competencies for Leaders (2 of 2)
4. Assure that the agency has an updated
5. Assure that the agency regularly practices
all parts of emergency response.
6. Evaluate every emergency response drill.
7. Assure that knowledge and skills are
transmitted to others.
Who Is in Charge?
Incident Command System
• Emergency management system
• Police departments
• Fire departments
• Emergency medical system
• Community health centers
• Local public health department
• Department of Homeland Security
New Models of Collaboration
• Share work.
• Maintain organizational
• Take advantage of
Changing Ways to Work
• Core workers
• General workers
• Community residents
Measures of Success in Collaborative
• Conflict management
• Trust development
• Decision making
• Management of safety concerns
Historically, how well have organizations in
your community collaborated?
A. High level of historical and successful
B. Some effective collaboration on simple
C. Very little collaboration in the past.
D. More competition than collaboration.
Risk Communication and
Risk Communication Skills
• High concern/high stress situations
• Trust determination and building trust
• Strategies for stressed people who do not listen
• Skills for dealing with negative statements
One negative = three positive
• Risk perception by the public and skills for
dealing with it
Communities must form a flexible crisis
communication team (CCT) that can be
activated quickly. This team can
implement a communication plan as a
part of the total response effort.
Seven Step Communications Response
• Activate the CCT.
• Gather and verify information.
• Assess the gravity of the crisis.
• Identify key stakeholders.
• Implement a communications strategy.
• Develop external materials.
• Inform partners, stakeholders, and media.
Knowledge of the Law
• Police powers
• Personal rights
Does your community have a comprehensive
crisis communication plan?
New Leadership Skills for New Times
Major Crisis Leadership Lessons* (1 of 3)
1. Prepare for at least one crisis in each crisis
2. It is not sufficient to prepare for crises that are
normal in community.
3. Prepare for the simultaneous occurrence of
4. The purpose of definitions are to guide, not
Major Crisis Leadership Lessons (2 of 3)
5. Every type of crisis can happen to every
6. No type of crisis should be taken literally.
7. Tampering is the most generic form or type of
8. No crisis ever happens as one plans for it.
9. Traditional risk analysis is both dangerous and
Major Crisis Leadership Lessons (3 of 3)
10. Every crisis is capable of being both cause
and the effect of any other crisis.
11. Crisis leadership is systemic.
12. Perform a systemic crisis audit of your
agency and community.
13. Crisis leaders not only recognize the validity
of all types of crisis, but they also see the
interconnections between them.
Communities should make plans now
for dealing with any recurrences.
The most promising way to deal
with a possible recurrence is to sum
it up in a single word, “preparedness,”
and now is the time to prepare.
Civilian Surgeon General, 1919
Leadership Will Involve Working
at All Levels of the System
Are you both able and willing to take a leadership
role in your community during a future crisis?