UNC Gillings School of Public Health

UNC Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (PERLC)


The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health is one of 14 accredited schools of public health that were awarded funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (CDC Cooperative Agreement 1U90TP000415) to establish a Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (PERLC). The purpose of the CDC-funded PERLC network is to serve in a national capacity to meet preparedness and response training and education needs of the US public health workforce.


Our State Partners

UNC PERLC is focused specifically on meeting the training needs of the public health workforce at local, regional, and state public health agencies in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. UNC PERLC works collaboratively with key partners in each state to develop training around national Public Health Preparedness & Response (PHP&R) Core Competencies, as well as carry out other training activities requested by these partners, particularly those that align with their designated high-priority target Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Capabilities.


Notable Year 1 Accomplishments

During Year 1 of funding (September 2010–September 2011), UNC PERLC laid the groundwork for a number of initiatives. UNC PERLC staff designed and implemented a robust Center-wide evaluation strategy based on the 4-level Kirkpatrick Model that will be used to help evaluate the impact of training on performance in the workplace for all PERLC training activities. One of the core initiatives of the Center, the UNC CPHP Training Web Site, was significantly revised to provide multiple types of continuing education credit. Staff members also worked closely with state partners to develop tailored training opportunities.

Below are 3 notable success stories about work conducted by UNC PERLC during the 2010-2011 project year.

Integration of the UNC CPHP Training Web Site with TRAIN

The Virginia Department of Health requested a better integration of the UNC CPHP Training Web Site (TWS) with TRAINVirginia in order to better track completion data for their employees. TRAINVirginia is the state affiliate site of the Public Health Foundation's TrainingFinder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network (TRAIN). UNC PERLC worked with the TRAIN administrator at the Virginia Department of Health's Emergency Preparedness and Response Program to devise an external integration of the 2 sites. After several months of development and testing, the integration was launched in September 2011. During the development process, technical staff realized that the external integration would work not just for TRAINVirginia but for national TRAIN and all TRAIN affiliate sites. Public health professionals using the national TRAIN learning management system or any TRAIN affiliate sites can now seamlessly access any of the trainings on the UNC CPHP TWS without the need for a separate login. In addition to providing a more complete training record for the individual, this integration also allows TRAIN administrators to better track aggregate completion data for their employees.

Bridging Gaps: Workforce Training in West Virginia

UNC PERLC collaborated with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WV BPH) on 2 workforce development initiatives. The first involved the development and implementation of a 3-day in-person surveillance course in partnership with WV BPH staff. This course is the first part of a comprehensive epidemiology training program for West Virginia epidemiology staff based on a training needs assessement of national applied epidemiology competencies (AECs) carried out by the WV BPH and UNC PERLC. For the second training initiative, the WV BPH requested assistance from the UNC PERLC in developing an online course for West Virginia Threat Preparedness Coordinators (TPCs) at local health departments modeled after a successful course developed for North Carolina. Engaging with West Virginia state and local public health preparedness staff via a survey and focus groups, UNC PERLC obtained valuable information on their specific preparedness training needs. The initial modules of this course were completed and piloted in Year 1.

Tennessee Disaster Support Network Online Resource

UNC PERLC collaborated with partners at the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) to guide the development of the Tennessee Disaster Support Network online resource, designed to assist special needs and vulnerable populations before, during, and after a disaster. UNC CPHP conducted a focus group with Nashville United Way 2-1-1 Call Center staff (who operate a community service help line for 52 counties in Tennessee) and developed and distributed a Web-based survey to colleagues and key partners of the TDH Public Health Emergency/Disaster Support Committee. A total of 56 surveys were completed, and approximately 40 volunteers from the initial survey evaluated a beta version of the resource, which has been delivered to state partners for posting on the TDH Web site.


Plans for Year 2

In the coming project year (2011–2012), UNC PERLC will be working toward achieving three main overarching goals:

  1. Develop and deliver PHP&R competency-based preparedness and response trainings for public health professionals at the state and local levels, both within and beyond our 4 partner states.

  2. Collaborate with state and local public authorities in our partner states to address identified preparedness and response training gaps, including those not clearly aligned with the PHP&R core competencies.

  3. Collaborate within the PERLC network to address common activities including evaluation measures and utilization of the core competency model and accompanying learning outcomes.

In addition to the above activities, UNC PERLC will be making a concerted effort to collaborate with our state partners as they identify training needs related to their high priority PHEP capabilities. The CDC-issued PHEP capabilities provide a guide that state and local jurisdictions can use to better organize their work, plan their priorities, and decide which capabilities they have the resources to build on or sustain. State identification of high priority PHEP capabilities ensure that federal preparedness funds are properly directed. Particularly, UNC CPHP will be building on our long-standing expertise in field and applied epidemiology to develop curriculum that is specific to the PHEP capability #13, Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation.

The UNC PERLC welcomes questions or input regarding our work at cphp@unc.edu.