Safeguarding communities: Building capacity and strengthening communities and healthcare systems

We take the difficult lessons learned from the devastation of the poorer neighborhoods of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, among others, and use that knowledge to build capacity and strengthen the resilience of these communities and their healthcare systems before disasters strike. Healthcare Ready wants all residents, regardless of income status, location, or the size of their resilience account, to have the same chance to survive and thrive after a crisis hits.

Our goal is to create resilient neighborhoods that don’t need outside help after a disaster hits; ones whose strong health infrastructure allows them to bounce back from a crisis and avoid devastating outcomes.

We believe in the power of coordination – specifically among public-private partnerships – to accomplish this goal. We do this by working with industry partners such as PhRMA, BIO, AAM, HDA, NACDS, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and many others, and government agencies across the nation. We also coordinate with NGO partners who work at the community level. We share best practices  on planning and capacity-building to prepare for and respond to crises through trainings, and we focus on planning and capacity-building and create targeted resources so that every community we support is aptly prepared for crises.

These are the ways in which Healthcare Ready strengthens communities and healthcare systems through disaster preparedness:

Training and Exercises

Community trainings and exercises on disaster preparedness

Learn more about disaster preparedness trainings and exercises we offer in communities nationwide.

Healthcare Supply Chain

Working with industry to strengthen the healthcare supply chain

Find out how we work with manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to identify and implement innovative solutions that strengthen the healthcare supply chain.

Strengthening pharmacies’ roles as critical players in local health infrastructure

Learn more about how pharmacies are playing a critical role in meeting the healthcare and information needs of communities before, during, and after a crisis.

Health Security

Patient perspectives about access to healthcare

Use our international and national polls to gain insights on patient-level perspectives on access to medicines and other challenges during public health emergencies or following natural disasters.


Reports and Publications

Read Healthcare Ready’s reports and publications on this topic.


Safeguarding communities through emergency and disaster response

Responding to emergencies: How the disaster response of private and public entities to disasters is also interconnected 

Healthcare Ready sits at the nexus of the healthcare supply chain, public health, and emergency management – sectors that depend upon each other to respond in a crisis. As a result, we are uniquely able to identify where breakdowns occur in the important communication and collaboration needed across these interconnected stakeholders.

A community’s ability to withstand a disaster rests on interdependent factors such as housing, food, and infrastructure. Similarly, the ability of private and public entities to adequately respond to an event also rests on interconnected factors—from the availability of medical products to a ready supply of power and safe drinking water, to name a few.

From coordinating the delivery of radios and medical supplies to a small community shelter in Puerto Rico, to working with clinics and government agencies across the country to plan for hurricane season during the pandemic, Healthcare Ready brings together the agencies, private-sector supply chain partners, and community organizations that need to effectively work together to respond to the health needs of residents.

Learn more about how Healthcare Ready is safeguarding communities by ensuring that private and public entities adequately respond to disasters:

Emergency response to patients, communities, and the health sector during disasters

See how we provide essential tools for facilitating solutions in disasters, including strengthening our communities’ ability to swiftly respond to emergencies and responding to patients’ needs.

Healthcare Supply Chain

Strengthening the healthcare supply chain’s ability to respond during disasters

Find out how we work with manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to identify and implement solutions that strengthen the healthcare supply chain’s ability to serve communities during disasters and emergencies.

Heroes of the Supply Chain

Stories of health supply chain workers who went above and beyond to help ensure that patients everywhere have access to critical health services and medications.


Access Denied Report

Delivery of Critical Healthcare Products and Personnel to Disaster Sites

Recovery and Resilience

How community education and preparedness programs speed up recovery and build resilience

A community’s resilience relies on its ability to fulfill the basic needs of its residents, ranging from ensuring the availability of reliable housing and good physical and communications infrastructure, to providing well-funded services for residents, including health facilities and other infrastructure. For marginalized communities that already lack these resources, a disaster not only drains these resources to a greater extent; it actually prevents the community from re-stocking them over the long term—making the effects of the next disaster even more severe.

It is therefore critical to bring together all community partners, organizations, agencies, and residents to learn the importance of preparing for disasters—not simply to avoid the effects of the next disaster, but to build community resilience over the long term.

Healthcare Ready conducts trainings and community education programs specifically aimed at marginalized communities and varying education levels. We also work to close the gap between existing education levels so that individuals can raise their health literacy and combat misinformation to protect their health.

Examples of our capacity-building efforts include our work in Baltimore and on the Gulf Coast. In partnership with Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability, we developed the concept and strategy for community-based hubs of preparedness that are connected with emergency management and public health. In Mobile, AL, in partnership with Lifelines Counseling Services, we developed a training and exercise program for the Southwest Alabama 211 service to support local communities in preparing and responding in times of crisis.

Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color (IC3) Research Project

Healthcare Ready routinely conducts polls to measure the resiliency of communities and determine their perceived needs in a crisis. In an effort further understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color, we launched a research effort with support from the Walmart Foundation. We polled the nation in October 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 and found among other outcomes, more than half of the respondents’ emotional or mental health situation worsened with major impacts on mental health one year into the pandemic. Learn more about our findings here.

Community Resilience

Community resilience

The largest driver of resilience in a community is its health infrastructure, which determines how quickly a community will bounce back from a catastrophic event.