Decision-Support System for Integrated Adaptive Response

Principal Investigator: Louise K. Comfort, PhD

Project Arm 4 aims to develop a model and methods for achieving a common operating picture for the set of organizations, actors, and agents that have responsibility for maintaining public health in the United States. Organizations and actors operating with different levels of responsibility and authority in different locations and serving different clientele need to act in concert to maintain effective performance of public health services and particularly to recognize emerging threats to public health in communities exposed to risk. The Project 4 hypothesis is that, as key actors increase their understanding of the responsibilities and constraints that characterize the performance of other actors, they improve their capacity to recognize risk to the whole public health system. This project focuses on the design and development of an electronic dashboard that will be embedded in a larger decision support system to enhance the adaptive performance of the public health system to changing conditions.

The work of Decision-Support System Project has resulted in the development of several tools, all of which are currently in the draft stage.

Decision Support Dashboard – an electronic dashboard to monitor and display the status of various operating systems for hospitals and public health agencies

Local Public Health System Network Analysis – a graphical network analysis that visualizes the interactions between emergency medical services, hospitals, and public health agencies

The formal specific aims for Project Arm 4 as stated in the application to the CDC are:

  • Conduct a detailed assessment of both vulnerabilities and capacities for the set of key actors as a baseline for measuring performance in a selected field study region
  • Map the existing patterns of information flow among the actors in the PHS under three sets of conditions: 1) normal operations; 2) moderate risk; and 3) severe threat, using historical data for the region
  • Identify the interdependencies in performance of public health functions among the actors for the field study region, assessing the performance of technical structures, organizational processes, and potential weaknesses and strengths of the PHS
  • Design a network of technical sensors, data transmission nodes and links, and organizational communication and feedback processes that will monitor the changing status of vulnerability and capacity of the PHS in the study region and represent this information simultaneously to operational managers with different responsibilities at different locations using an electronic dashboard

Project Arm 4 Publications
Project Arm 4 Presentations


Project Arm 4 Personnel

Louise K. Comfort, PhD
Principal Investigator
Professor and Director, Center for Disaster Management
Director, Public and Urban Affairs Division
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs