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February 15, 2012

Preparedness Study Receives Peer Recognition

A Bloomberg School study on emergency response behavior in hospitals recently received an evaluation from the Faculty of 1000, a recognition that places the work in the top two percent of published articles in biology and medicine.

The study, “Characterizing Hospital Workers' Willingness to Respond to a Radiological Event,” was co-authored by Daniel Barnett, MD, MPH, Natalie Semon, MSEd, and Jonathan Links, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center in collaboration with lead author Ran Balicer of Ben-Gurion University in Israel.

Published in PLoS ONE on October 27, 2011, the study describes hospital workers’ willingness to respond to a radiological dispersal device (or “dirty bomb”) event. The authors suggest that a high proportion (39 percent) of hospital workers may choose not to respond to a dirty bomb event and that several attributes, including their willingness to work extra hours, are very strongly associated with this lack of willingness.

Terrorist use of dirty bombs, which combine a conventional explosive device with radiological material, is a serious threat, and understanding hospital workers’ willingness to respond is important for emergency preparedness planning.

Nelson Chao of Duke University Medical Center, who provided the Faculty of 1000 evaluation, noted that, “An effective medical response requires the concerted efforts of an entire medical infrastructure that includes every member of a hospital, especially if the health care needs may last for many months.”

Articles are selected to be in the Faculty of 1000 by a peer-nominated group of the world's leading scientists and clinicians.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.