Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Rachel Lookadoo

Second Committee Member

Keith Hansen

Third Committee Member

Molly Pofahl


Public health officials conducting emergency response plans must know how to easily identify the vulnerable populations in their community or jurisdiction. It is beneficial for access and functional needs appendices to include information and resources directed at the identified vulnerable groups before an emergency event to improve health outcomes. Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) can provide population-level statistics and information needed to easily identify vulnerable or at-risk groups. This report aims to evaluate the use of the CHNA data to guide the development of inclusive emergency response plans that account for vulnerable populations in local health department jurisdictions. The 2021 East Central District Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment, and the East Central District Health Department Emergency Response Plan, including the 2014 Access and Functional Needs Appendix, were used to conduct this report. Using the population approach and the SVI themes as an evaluation framework for emergency response plans allows the CHNA data to efficiently fill gaps and improve access and functional needs appendices by creating a more inclusive planning and preparation approach. Public health officials and local emergency planners can use this data to better prepare vulnerable populations and communities to respond to emergency events, including severe weather, disease outbreaks, or chemical exposures.