Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


David Milen


A public health workforce must be trained to react quickly, especially in the case of terrorist attack. Political leaders and emergency management experts have often cited inadequate emergency training as a contributing factor in the public health system's failed preparations for a bioterrorist event. As a result of these failures, billions of dollars have been allocated towards correcting infrastructure deficiencies including training for public health nurses (PHNs), who are critical to a communitywide medical response. This quantitative study used Pearson's correlation and a multivariate regression analysis to evaluate the most effective modality of bioterrorism training (BTT) for PHNs working in rural communities in North Carolina. Using a conceptual framework created by Handler, Issel, and Turnock, this study compared 3 modalities of instruction (MOI) to seek the best predictor of success in retaining learned bioterrorism skills. The research question focused on whether MOI for BTT/all-hazards training courses significantly predicted the degree of retention of emergency knowledge/skills for PHNs working in public health agencies in North Carolina. A multiple choice survey was used to test 103 PHNs' level of knowledge retention on a bioterrorism quiz. The results of this study were ultimately inconclusive in that no MOI was found to be a statistically significant predictor of retention. Factors such as age were found to be successful predictors of knowledge retention. The readiness issues identified in this study have a potential for positive social change if community decision makers use this information to prioritize future funding for public health professionals or enhance communitywide emergency preparedness education programs.