Quantifying Access Disparities in Response Plans


Effective response planning and preparedness are critical to the health and well-being of communities in the face of biological emergencies. Response plans involving mass prophylaxis may seem feasible when considering the choice of dispensing points within a region, overall population density, and estimated traffic demands. However, the plan may fail to serve particular vulnerable subpopulations, resulting in access disparities during emergency response. For a response plan to be effective, sufficient mitigation resources must be made accessible to target populations within short, federally-mandated time frames. A major challenge in response plan design is to establish a balance between the allocation of available resources and the provision of equal access to PODs for all individuals in a given geographic region. Limitations on the availability, granularity, and currency of data to identify vulnerable populations further complicate the planning process. To address these challenges and limitations, data driven methods to quantify vulnerabilities in the context of response plans have been developed and are explored in this article.

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