Dissemination Strategies for Emergency Preparedness and Response Evaluation Findings
Sharing information and lessons learned from rural community response to emergencies and disasters can
strengthen overall preparedness and response capacity. It can also help build more resilient rural communities.
Rural organizations and communities can play an active role in disseminating information that builds the
evidence base of what works in rural preparedness and response.
Dissemination focuses on information-sharing after an emergency or disaster. The goal of dissemination
is to share information, findings, and results — particularly from post-disaster evaluations — with
important audiences to promote adoption of effective planning, response, and recovery strategies. Dissemination
differs from crisis communication, which is the collection and processing of information to raise awareness and
reduce the threat of an emergency or disaster. For more information, see
Public Safety and Crisis Communication in an
Emergency or Disaster.
The primary objective of dissemination is to engage and inform the individuals, organizations, and partners
affected by or involved with planning for and responding to an emergency or disaster event.
Other dissemination objectives may include:
Sharing successful approaches for preparedness and response, such as establishing operation centers,
developing plans, and sharing resources
Sharing lessons learned — including what did and did not work during the response
Sharing assessment results
Educating the public to increase confidence and dispel misinformation and disinformation during response and
Improving programs and initiatives for rural preparedness and response, including those at the local, state,
or national levels
Informing partners of new and emerging public health threats
Building the evidence base for rural preparedness and response
Dissemination Audiences and Partners
The primary audience for dissemination is typically the local community affected by the emergency or disaster
event. Disseminating information locally ensures transparency with the community by keeping individuals and
organizations informed of response and recovery efforts.
Local dissemination audiences and partners include:
Individuals from the affected community
Responding organizations, such as EMS, law enforcement, fire service, and others
Other partners, such as local universities and academia, healthcare systems, and faith-based organizations
Responding organizations and other partners can be involved in information-gathering, collection, and
dissemination efforts. It is important to maintain information and lessons learned in a centralized and
accessible location. For example, having a single reporting system or information system that houses this type
of information can ensure that all partners have access to the most critical and current information. Further,
it is important to have dedicated staff who are trained to update and maintain the preparedness plan. This can
ensure that information from post-emergency assessments is integrated into future planning. For more
information, see Integrate
Post-Emergency Evaluation Findings with Preparedness and Planning.
Maintaining a centralized location for information-sharing also makes it easier to share information and
disseminate lessons learned within and across neighboring communities. Neighboring communities may include other
rural communities, neighboring counties, and adjacent urban areas. These communities can benefit from learning
about assessment and evaluation results as well as response experiences and lessons learned.
It can also be important to share information more broadly, including at the state and national level. You might
wish to share your experiences with us here at RHIhub or with other
state and national dissemination audiences and partners, such as:
State Offices of Rural
Health (SORH) – provide varying services; most collect and share information, data, and
resources and provide technical assistance to rural communities. Their national membership organization, the
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) fosters
information-sharing and collaboration through state, regional, and national partnerships.
Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) – organized
by the USDA; provides disaster education information and resources through state Cooperative Extension
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – supports information-sharing and messaging through local offices and existing partners.
For a general overview of common dissemination strategies and methods, see Disseminating Best Practices in the Rural
Community Health Toolkit.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many rural communities found it necessary to establish regular communications to
disseminate important information to individuals and organizations in the community. This included updates on
guidance, testing, and resources. Common methods used for disseminating information during a response include
weekly broadcasts, newsletters, webinars, and social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). It is important
to use a variety of communication channels and methods to cater to different populations within the community.
In rural areas, older adults are more likely to rely on radio as their trusted source of information during an
How Dissemination Builds Resilience
Lessons learned regarding information-sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic response highlight the benefit of engaging community members in
response efforts early on. Doing so can support information-sharing efforts and help overcome
dissemination of mis/disinformation.
Findings from post-emergency assessments, including lessons learned and best practices, can help develop
knowledge and inform future action in the field of emergency preparedness and response. Having an improved
understanding of what works, particularly in rural communities, contributes to risk reduction, resilience
building, and helping to build back better in recovery.
Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition (VHEPC)
VHEPC developed a toolkit on medical surge best practices, compiling information and resources from across
the country, to support healthcare providers in Vermont, including those in rural areas, with their COVID-19
Resources to Learn More
of a Planning Tool to Guide Dissemination of Research Results: Dissemination Planning Tool: Exhibit
Presents the tool developed by AHRQ, which can be used to develop a plan for sharing research and evaluation
results more broadly, with the goal of applying results to improve practice.
Author(s): Carpenter, D., Nieva, V., Albaghal, T., & Sorra, J.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)