The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Kentucky announce a new competition to promote innovative use of the National Health Security Preparedness Index and to identify ways in which it stimulates intra- and multi-sectorial communication, collaboration, and action to improve health security.

What is the Preparedness Index?

The National Health Security Preparedness Index tracks the nation’s progress in preparing for disasters, disease outbreaks, and other emergencies that pose threats to population health. The Index is the only tool that measures changes in health security preparedness capabilities over time, across a broad array of domains and sectors, for every U.S. state and the nation as a whole. The Index integrates data from more than 130 individual measures, derived from more than 50 different data sources, providing a multi-dimensional view of preparedness.

What is the Challenge?

We invite individuals and teams to tell us their stories of how they are using the Index to improve preparedness and resiliency at local, state and national levels. Successful applications will help to transform the Index’s data and measures into actionable information that can be used by government, communities, the private sector, and the media to enahnce health security and preparedness across the U.S. We are particularly interested in learning about novel ways of using the Index to:

  1. Communicate the importance of preparedness to key stakeholders and raise awareness, knowledge and understanding about core preparedness capabilities and components;
  2. Convene key stakeholders and initiate dialogue and discussion across organizations and sectors about preparedness roles and responsibilities;
  3. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to preparedness capabilities and resources;
  4. Develop shared priorities and plans for improving preparedness across multiple sectors and stakeholders;
  5. Strengthen coordination, collaboration and partnerships among organizations and sectors working to improve preparedness;
  6. Advocate and secure resources for improving preparedness and health security;
  7. Provide technical assistance and support to stakeholders seeking to strengthen their contributions to preparedness and health security; and
  8. Monitor progress in improving preparedness, informing updates and corrections to improvement plans and strategies.

While we are interested in learning about any results produced by stakeholders who are using the Index, applicants in early stages of Index use also are welcome to share their experiences. Successful applications will have a compelling story to tell about the “why and how” of their Index use and work in progress, even if the results and impact are not yet known.

What is the Prize?

Winning entries will be highlighted on the Index website and through promotional activities related to the 2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index in the fall.

Who Should Apply?

Applications are invited from any eligible individual or team with an interest in using the Index to stimulate improvements in health security and preparedness. Applicants may include preparedness program leaders, community advocates, planners, emergency managers, researchers, data and visualization scientists, educators, trainers and consultants, policy analysts, informatics experts, software developers, journalists, and others. All applications are subject to the challenge’s Terms and Conditions which are provided below.

What Do I Submit?

Please review the Submission Guide below and create the narrative for the sections of the submission in a word document as instructed. Then, paste the sections into the appropriate section of the form below. Finally, upload any optional supportive media or weblinks.

First, describe these aspects of your Preparedeness Innovator Challenge submission as follow (within maximum word limits for each section):

  1. Describe the problem to be solved or goal of Index data use (75 words). What are you trying to achieve by using Index results?
  2. Context and setting for Index data use (75 words). What organizations are involved? Which communities and populations are implicated? What hazards and threats are being addressed?
  3. Use of Index results to date (150 words). What comparisons, analyses, displays, or communications have you generated to date?
  4. Discoveries or lessons learned from Index data use (150 words). What successes and challenges have you experienced? What insights have you gained?
  5. Next steps and future use of Index data (50 words). What are your plans and expectations for further development of this work?

Second, cut and paste appropriate sections of the draft document into relevant fields in the online submission form. Upon completing the narrative portion of the form, applicants may upload optional supporting materials, including:

  1. Photo Attachments, with acceptable file formats of jpeg, gif or png; Maximum file size: 5 MB; Maximum photo size: 2,000 x 2,000 pixels, and
  2. Video Attachments, with acceptable file formats of .mov, .mp4, .wmv, or .avi; Maximum length: 1 minute

How Will the Winners be Chosen?

All eligible submissions will be reviewed by a panel that includes members of the National Health Security Preparedness Index’s Program Management Office, National Advisory Committee, Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Workgroup, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The criteria to be used in selecting winning applications include:

  • creativity and innovation in the use of Index data and measures;
  • success in engaging diverse preparedness stakeholders and potential Index users;
  • potential to strengthen health security, preparedness and resiliency; and
  • clarity of written description.

The review panel chosen by RWJF will select a number of entries from among the eligible submissions to be featured by RWJF in such forums as RWJF deems appropriate.

What is the Deadline for Applications? July 31, 2017.

Questions? Send an Email to

Please complete the sections below to submit your application for the Preparedness Innovator Challenge. Thank you for your participation!

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