Professor, Alumna Edit Oxford Universty Press Book on Response to 2009 Flu Pandemic

JANUARY 15, 2015 – A Georgetown population health researcher and alumna are editors of a new Oxford University Press book looking at the public health response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Michael A. Stoto, PhD, professor of health systems administration at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, and Melissa A. Higdon (NHS’07), MPH, a graduate of the health care management & policy program, collaborated on The Public Health Response to 2009 H1N1: A Systems Perspective (Oxford, January 2015).

“The 2009 H1N1 pandemic required a concerted response effort from – and tested – the entire public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) system in the United States and other countries,” Stoto writes in the book’s introduction.

Team of Experts

The two editors pulled together a team of experts to write 13 chapters highlighting various issues related to the pandemic, ranging from policy and practice implications and vaccination programs, to school closures and governmental response.

“The pandemic was quickly identified and characterized by laboratories in the U.S. and Mexico, triggering pandemic influenza plans around the globe,” Stoto writes. “On the other hand, public health surveillance systems were arguably less effective in accurately tracking the pandemic over time and identifying groups that were at higher risk of suffering its consequences.”

Qualitative Research

Oxford’s Web site notes that the book is relevant to “all public health emergencies” and is particularly timely given the spread of Ebola virus disease and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

“Not simply a historical case study, this analysis employs a systems perspective that encompasses both government health agencies and community-based entities such as care providers, schools, and media,” the Web site says. “The chapters demonstrate rigorous qualitative research approaches that can be used to analyze public health system responses to both pathogens and a wide variety of other public health emergencies.”

By Bill Cessato