COVID-19 Response After Action Report and Preparedness Planning

California Department of Public Health

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) was responsible for coordinating the overarching State response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of current staff were “”activated”” as disaster service workers and frequently worked as many as 60 hours, 7 days a week for months on end. While California has some things to be very proud of with their COVID-19 response, they also know there were many things they could have done better. They were interested in identifying lessons learned and developing a plan for improvements that will help the State be ready for the next public health emergency.

Facente Consulting partnered with Quality Perspectives and Epicenter Innovation – two major players in the public health emergency preparedness arena – to conduct a 5-month comprehensive assessment of CDPH’s COVID-19 response, using surveys, 1:1 interviews on Zoom, and 7 “hot wash” meetings. The findings were outlined in an interim “After Action Report,” which is a formal report used commonly in the emergency management world, outlining strengths and weaknesses of the emergency response and providing concrete recommendations for future planning. Facente Consulting also spent 6 months facilitating a planning process with CDPH and partners, identifying and making actionable recommendations for short-term urgent fixes to the ongoing response, medium-term planning that would help transition the COVID-19 response into a more sustainable maintenance mode, and long-term planning that will help the department be best prepared to respond to future pandemics.