Public and Biological Security

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Project on the Public and Biological Security conducts opinion surveys to assess public knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in response to threats of health and safety emergencies including terrorism / bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, as well as global climate change and its health consequences. The Project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative to provide CDC and other public officials with technical assistance for public health communication by monitoring public response to emerging health threats.


SteelFisher GK, Blendon RJ, Brulé AS, Ben-Porath EN, Ross LJ, Atkins BM, “Public Response to an Anthrax Attack: A Multiethnic Perspective.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 10(4):401-411, December 2012.

SteelFisher GK, Blendon RJ, Ross LJ, Collins BC, Ben-Porath EN, Bekheit MM, Mailhot JR, “Public Response to an Anthrax Attack: Reactions to Mass Prophylaxis in a Scenario Involving Inhalation Anthrax from an Unidentified Source.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 9(3):239-250, September 2011.

Blendon RJ, Benson JM, DesRoches CM, Lyon-Daniel K, Mitchell EW, Pollard W, “The Public’s Preparedness for Hurricanes in Four Affected Regions.” Public Health Reports, 122(2):167-176, March-April 2007.

Blendon RJ, DesRoches CM, Cetron MS, Benson JM, Meinhardt T, Pollard W, “Attitudes Toward the Use of Quarantine in a Public Health Emergency in Four Countries.” Health Affairs, web exclusive, 25:w15-w25, January 25, 2006.

Taylor-Clark K, Blendon RJ, Zaslavsky A, Benson JM, “Confidence in Crisis? Understanding Trust in Government and Public Attitudes Toward Mandatory State Health Powers.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 3(2):138-147, June 2005.

Blendon RJ, DesRoches CM, Benson JM, Weldon KJ, “Experiences with Obtaining Influenza Vaccination Among Persons in Priority Groups During a Vaccine Shortage — United States, October-November, 2004.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 53(49):1153-1155, December 17, 2004.

Blendon RJ, Benson JM, DesRoches CM, Raleigh E, and Taylor-Clark K, “The Public’s Response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Toronto and the United States.” Clinical Infectious Diseases, 38(7):925-931, April 1, 2004.

Blendon RJ, Benson JM, DesRoches CM, Weldon KJ, “Using Opinion Surveys to Track the Public’s Response to a Bioterrorist Attack.” Journal of Health Communications, 8:83-92, Fall 2003.

Blendon RJ, DesRoches CM, Benson JM, Herrmann MJ, Taylor-Clark K, Weldon KJ, “The Public and the Smallpox Threat.” New England Journal of Medicine, 348(5):426-432, January 30, 2003.

Blendon RJ, Benson JM, DesRoches CM, Pollard WE, Parvanta C, Herrmann MJ, “The Impact of Anthrax Attacks on the American Public.” Medscape General Medicine, 4(2):[online], April 17, 2002.

Working Papers

WP 1: The Public Response to the Anthrax Threats

WP 2: The Impact of Anthrax Incidents in Three Metropolitan Areas

WP 3: Public Attitudes about the Threat of a Smallpox Attack

WP 4: Report on “ER” Viewers Who Saw the Smallpox Episode

WP 5: Public Attitudes, Belief and Knowledge about Smallpox

WP 6: West Nile Virus

WP 7: Improving Government Communications with the Public in as Bioterrorist Attack

WP 8: Readiness

WP 9: Americans’ Response to SARS (I)

WP 10: SARS (II)

WP 11: SARS in Toronto and the U.S.

WP 12: West Nile Virus II

WP 13: Flu I

WP 14: Mad Cow Disease

WP 15: Airline Contagious Diseases

WP 16: West Nile Virus III

WP 17: Flu Vaccine

WP 18: Obesity

WP 19: Avian Flu

WP 20: High-Risk Area Hurricane 

WP 21: H1N1 Vaccine Baseline

WP 22: H1N1 Pregnant Women and New Mothers

WP 22: Appendix A, Pregnant Women Charts

WP 22: Appendix B, New Mothers Charts

WP 23: Release of Anthrax in an Unidentified Location