NPI Implementation During the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic

Working with the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, we are conducting systematic qualitative and quantitative research on the response to the first 21st-century influenza pandemic in the United States, including the use and effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) along with relative social, economic, political, cultural, and other frameworks for NPIs.

The broad historical record demonstrates that when faced with an impending epidemic, many nations, communities, and individuals adopt what they perceive to be effective NPIs, such as isolation of the ill, quarantine of those suspected of having had contact with the ill, school dismissals, and public gathering bans, as well as a menu of personal hygiene measures. Our primarily qualitative research and analysis will complement and add the social, cultural, political, and ethical analyses to the ongoing assessment of the evolution and impact of H1N1 in 2009–2010.

Our research team has completed a pilot contemporary historical project on the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. We have gathered extensive data on NPI use and implementation in U.S. cities and have conducted over several dozen oral history interviews with key leaders in public health and education. This research has already resulted in two publications, one in JAMA and one in Public Health Reports.