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Center for Public Health Preparedness

Terrorism, Preparedness, and Public Health: An Introduction

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Terrorism, Preparedness, and Public Health: An Introduction--Main Menu (screen shot)

At the end of this course, public health workers will be competent to describe the public health role in emergency response in a range of potential or possible emergencies and to recognize unusual events that might indicate an emergency and describe appropriate action. A minor focus is the chain of command in emergency response. Several activities are designed to help the learner identify personal limits of knowledge and direct the learner to useful resources when these limits have been exceeded. Refer to the Core Public Health Worker Competencies for Emergency Preparedness and Response (link opens PDF document in new window).


After completing of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the public health role in emergency response to a range of emergencies.
  • Recognize unusual events that might indicate an emergency.
  • Describe appropriate reactions to biological, chemical, and radiological events.
  • Describe how the science of epidemiology is used in outbreak investigations.
  • Defend the use of a predefined organizational structure (e.g., the Incident Command System) to assist in managing emergency events.


Any individual interested in getting a general understanding of terrorism and its effect on public health practice.


Originally launched June 2004. Updated July 2014.

Technical Requirements

This course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.


Estimated time for all modules is 6 hours.


Free and open to the public.


This course was created by Robert Wesphal, MD, MPH, Director of the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness.


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