The University of Pittsburgh's Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center PHASYS conducts research to develop, test, and apply criteria and metrics for measuring the effectiveness of preparedness and emergency response to hazards with public health consequences.
Though capacities for preparedness and emergency response within the public health system have increased over the past several years, justifiable concerns persist. The lack of meaningful indicators of effectiveness and efficiency in response to emergencies continues to impede attempts to measure readiness among state and localities. In 2008 the Institute of Medicine released the report Research Priorities in Emergency Preparedness and Response for Public Health Systems: A Letter Report, in response to the Centers for Disease Control's Advancing the Nation's Health: A Guide for Public Health Research Needs, 2006 – 2015. PHASYS conducts research with the primary focus on two of the Institute of Medicine's top priority recommendations, described in the report:
- To "generate criteria for evaluating public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and metrics for measuring their efficiency and effectiveness"
- To "create and maintain sustainable preparedness and response systems" by "identifying factors that affect a community's ability to successfully respond to a crisis with public health consequences, and the systems and infrastructure needed to foster constructive responses in a sustainable manner."