BUSINESS AND PUBLIC HEALTH 1
This articleis written by Buehler, Whitney and Berkelman. It is about thecollaboration of the public health and business for emergencypreparedness. The study was carried out in Georgia.. 26 government,academic and business participants were interviewed by the authors.The interview had 11 open ended questions. The collaboration inGeorgia is between the state’s division of public health andBusiness Executives for National Security (BENS).
The sole purpose of this partnership is to develop an essential aneffective way of dealing with emergencies like a bioterrorist attackor an outbreak big infectious disease. The two partners have the sameobjectives and share mutual trust. The two sectors also realized thatthey need to combine their efforts and resource in order to preparefor a large-scale disaster.
The results showed that neither the business sector nor the publichealth can be able to deal with an emergency situation alone, henceneed for the partnership.What facilitated for this collaboration onthe public health agencies side was that they realized theirrestrictions and saw the worth of the resources provided by businesspeople for emergency preparedness. What facilitated the motivationfor BENS members to enter into this partnership was the fact thatthey want to provide community service and the public healthofficials have the required expertise and information needed to dojust this. The characteristics of Bens that facilitated for thiscollaboration was their focus on national security and emergencypreparedness, and the fact that they are a non-profit organization.
The biggest challenge facing this partnership is the stereotypicalview that both parties have of each other. The public health peopleare suspicious of business people because they only view them aspeople who want to make profits regardless of what they do. On theother hand business people view this suspicious behavior shows thatpublic health officials want to be given things for free while theyimpose their troublesome regulations.
Another major challenge to this collaboration is that these twoindependent sectors have different managerial styles. An observationwas made that chief executive officers apply more authority thangovernment officials while imposing obedience to policies andstandards. Public health officials are more flexible in doing thiswhile business leaders are more rigid. This is a challenge whilemaking decisions on how to be prepared for emergencies.
Another limit to this partnership is how protected is the informationthey share with each other. Both parties are worried that theconfidentiality of the information they give each other will bebroken. Businesses may withhold information useful to the governmentif they feel that this may be a threat to them and governmentofficials may do the same. This is a huge problem because theywithheld information may prove to be useful in terms of emergencypreparedness.
The progress made in this has been considerably encouraging. Thiscollaboration should serve as a good example and motivation togovernments and businesses in other states (National Business Groupon Health, 2004).
A good example of this partnership in action was the time HurricaneKatrina. Georgia was not directly hit, but it was the end point formany evacuees. This collaboration provided relief and resources tostates that were directly affected by this hurricane.
Buehler James W,Whitney Ellen A and BerkelmanRuth L. Business and public healthcollaboration for emergency preparedness in Georgia: a case study.
National BusinessGroup on Health (2004): Corporate America and Emergency Preparedness:Public Health Perspectives on Working with the Business Sector.Web.