Trust for Americas Health receives Pew grant to study pandemic preparedness

Published 19 December 2005

Pew gives money to nonprofit monitoring states’ readiness to cope with natural and man-made biological disasters

Pew Charitable Trusts announced a $1.5 million grant to help federal, state, and local governments examine their readiness for a potential pandemic flu. The grant has been awarded to the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, a public-health advocacy group based in Washington, to gauge preparedness plans being developed by government agencies. Kim Elliott, deputy director of Trust for America’s Health, described the award as “significant,” saying it would help ensure that pandemic plans are well-conceived and useful. Elliott said she hoped the Pew grant would spur other philanthropies to earmark money specifically for pandemic readiness. They typically invest in broader public-health preparedness efforts, she said, and are reluctant to focus on flu because of the uncertainty about when a pandemic could happen. “My answer is: Something will happen,” Elliott said. “The questions are: What strain will it be, and how severe?” The grant money also will be used to raise awareness in the business and faith-based communities about steps they can take to better equip themselves if a pandemic should occur.

The Trust for America’s Health has issued a number of reports evaluating the readiness of individual states to deal with bioterrorism. Its latest report, issued two weeks ago, surprised many by finding that South Carolina was the state most-prepared to face a pandemic flu, while Iowa and New Hampshire were the least prepared states.

-read more in this report; see the Trust Web site