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Using Professional Organizations to Prepare the Behavioral Health Workforce to Respond to the Needs of Pediatric Populations Impacted by Health-Related Disasters: Guiding Principles and Challenges

  • Ginny Sprang (a1) (a2) and Miriam Silman (a2)


Behavioral health professional organizations are in the unique role of aggregating and disseminating information to their membership before, during, and after health-related disasters to promote the integration of behavioral health services into the public health disaster response plan. This article provides a set of 5 principles to direct this undertaking that are based on the current literature and previous evaluation of the online guidance provided by 6 prominent behavioral health professional organizations. These principles use a strengths-based approach to prioritize resilience; underscore the importance of context, collaboration, and coordination; recognize the unique needs of pediatric populations; and guide ongoing training and content development in the area of biopsychosocial responses to health-related disasters. Recognizing important innovations and strides made by the behavioral health organizations noted in a previous study, this article recommends additional areas in which behavioral health professional organizations can contribute to overall pandemic disaster preparedness and response efforts. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:642–649)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Ginny Sprang, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, UK Center on Trauma and Children, 3470 Blazer Parkway Suite 100, Lexington, KY 40509 (e-mail:


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Using Professional Organizations to Prepare the Behavioral Health Workforce to Respond to the Needs of Pediatric Populations Impacted by Health-Related Disasters: Guiding Principles and Challenges

  • Ginny Sprang (a1) (a2) and Miriam Silman (a2)


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