A workbook developed by the USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness and the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health promotes strategies for engaging rural healthcare providers in all-hazards planning. The workbook is the result of long-term collaborations with rural partners across the country and reflects rural communities’ ideas, comments, and needs. It provides planning suggestions specific to rural providers on topics such as: collaboration with partners; prevention and preparedness; response; and recovery. The appendices contain numerous tools, including: a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) template and guidance; a hazard vulnerability analysis template; hazard mitigation checklists; a clinic readiness assessment; clinic response roles and requirements; job action sheets; an alternate care site selection tool; a volunteer roster; a mental health coordinator checklist; an open/close decision tool; a media contact form; a patient tracking form; a donation tracking form; cost tracking and finance forms; an equipment inventory list; and an after-action report template.
The workbook focuses significantly on at-risk populations. Appendix I contains many tools that may assist rural communities in planning for at-risk groups, including: finding and reaching at-risk populations; a sample phone survey and questionnaire template; a collaboration agreement letter template; a focus group template; and an e-mail template.
The workbook is an outstanding compendium of information and resources tailored to the needs of rural areas. Although the initial target audiences for the workbook were Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, its content may be helpful to a far broader group of stakeholders. It is a collection of tools to maximize rural healthcare providers’ response capabilities and capacities during health emergencies; it may also benefit rural communities in planning activities.