Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

First Hours: University Research Reports


In November 2002, CDC entered into a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) to develop "pre-event" emergency message content for terrorism events. Four universities were selected through a competitive process to lead this multi-year communication research effort:

The Pre-Event Message Development Project (PEMD) was precipitated by the public communication challenges brought on by the anthrax attacks of 2001. For three years, research teams at these four schools of public health performed the following:

  1. Conducted systematic, qualitative formative research to assess information demands and media preferences of the general public
  2. Used research to inform development and pre-testing of message materials for television, radio, Web, and print distribution
  3. Conducted 79 focus groups (N = 899) and 129 cognitive response interviews with diverse urban and rural audience segments across the country
  4. Conducted formative research among professional audience segments such as emergency responders and public health professionals
  5. Used results to shape key recommendations for content, format, and distribution of emergency messages

In consultation with CDC, the study teams examined public communication needs related to four different potential health threats and related general hazards. Each team researched all four threats; however, each study team concentrated on one threat in terms of analysis, report writing, message development, and verification analysis.

Ready: Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.Social Media at CDC Emergency