University of California, Berkeley

Ann Keller is an Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where she teaches courses on health policy, environmental health policy, and science in policy making. Keller studies the role of expertise in public decision-making and is especially interested in how expert systems are designed in the public sector and how expertise is maintained in contested political domains.

Adapting the Incident Command Model for Knowledge-Based Crises: The Case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The federal government has developed increasingly sophisticated approaches to addressing emergencies and crises. One successful management model is the incident command system (ICS), which was initially developed in the 1970s as a command-and-control approach for fighting forest fires, but has since been adapted to other policy domains. The Department of Homeland Security adopted the ICS model—which it renamed the National Incident Management System (NIMS)—and required its use at all levels of government in emergency and crisis situations.

Associate Professor
Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health
50 University Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
(510) 642-7934

Ann Keller is an Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where she teaches courses on health policy, environmental health policy, and science in policy making. Keller studies the role of expertise in public decision-making and is especially interested in how expert systems are designed in the public sector and how expertise is maintained in contested political domains. Keller has published work on the role of scientists in shaping policy debates about acid rain and climate change—her book on this subject, Science in Environmental Policy: The Politics of Objective Advice, won the Don K. Price Award in 2011—and on institutional mechanisms used by science assessment organizations to protect their credibility and relevance with policy audiences (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory). Though she initially studied issues of environmental policy, Keller expanded her focus to include public health and health care systems during a postdoctoral fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholars in Health Policy Research Program.

Keller’s interest in expertise in public policy extends to consideration of non-expert participation in health policy domains. She and co-author Laura Packel examine a lack of collective action on the part of patient groups in health policy debates in their study published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. In connection with this work, Keller is conducting a comparison of patterns of citizen mobilization in environmental as compared with health system policy arenas. Keller is also currently researching the political dynamics surrounding federal programs to research the risks of firearm ownership and to produce and disseminate comparative effectiveness research.

Keller’s work on expertise in crisis and emergency response stems from a multi-year, National Science Foundation-funded study that she and Professor Chris Ansell conducted on the organizational and decision dynamics involved in global pandemic response (Risks, Hazards, and Crisis in Public Policy). They have also published work that addresses the management challenges associated with trans-boundary crises (Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management).

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