This Guide to Multi-jurisdictional Collaborations is a resource tool for leaders in public health and emergency preparedness who seek answers about their community's capacity to respond to disasters. It is designed to be a simple tool one can use to access existing essential resources (for example, readiness checklists), identify gaps and provide examples of laws, inter-jurisdictional cooperation agreements, collaborations, documents, policies, practices, procedures and activities. Additionally, it will address the various formal and informal means to develop agreements, the potential legal issues these agreements may generate and the benefits and liabilities governments and their agents may reasonably expect when entering into such agreements.
This project focuses on the Western New York Public Health Alliance (WNYPHA), a regional partnership comprised of eight county health departments in Western New York. Within this largely rural region lie metropolitan Buffalo and Niagara Falls, several Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, an international border with Canada and a state border with Pennsylvania. Thanks to support and funding from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the WNYPHA's Rural Advanced Practice Center (APC) has become a valuable resource for rural public health agencies throughout the nation. As the only NACCHO APC specifically funded to address rural issues, emphasis has been placed on addressing the emergency preparedness and public health implications of urban citizens evacuating to surrounding rural and suburban communities. The end result of this project will provide unique insight into the development and maintenance of successful public health collaborations and regionalism.