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Working within a series of partnerships among an academic health center, local health departments (LHDs), and faith-based organizations (FBOs), we validated companion interventions to address community mental health planning and response challenges in public health emergency preparedness.
We implemented the project within the framework of an enhanced logic model and employed a multi-cohort, pre-test/post-test design to assess the outcomes of 1-day workshops in psychological first aid (PFA) and guided preparedness planning (GPP). The workshops were delivered to urban and rural communities in eastern and midwestern regions of the United States. Intervention effectiveness was based on changes in relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) and on several behavioral indexes.
Significant improvements were observed in self-reported and objectively measured KSAs across all cohorts. Additionally, GPP teams proved capable of producing quality drafts of basic community disaster plans in 1 day, and PFA trainees confirmed upon follow-up that their training proved useful in real-world trauma contexts. We documented examples of policy and practice changes at the levels of local and state health departments.
Given appropriate guidance, LHDs and FBOs can implement an effective and potentially scalable model for promoting disaster mental health preparedness and community resilience, with implications for positive translational impact.(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:511-526)
Community disaster preparedness plans, particularly those with content that would mitigate the effects of psychological trauma on vulnerable rural populations, are often nonexistent or underdeveloped. The purpose of the study was to develop and evaluate a model of disaster mental health preparedness planning involving a partnership among three, key stakeholders in the public health system.
A one-group, post-test, quasi-experimental design was used to assess outcomes as a function of an intervention designated Guided Preparedness Planning (GPP). The setting was the eastern-, northern-, and mid-shore region of the state of Maryland. Partner participants were four local health departments (LHDs), 100 faith-based organizations (FBOs), and one academic health center (AHC)—the latter, collaborating entities of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System. Individual participants were 178 community residents recruited from counties of the above-referenced geographic area. Effectiveness of GPP was based on post-intervention assessments of trainee knowledge, skills, and attitudes supportive of community disaster mental health planning. Inferences about the practicability (feasibility) of the model were drawn from pre-defined criteria for partner readiness, willingness, and ability to participate in the project. Additional aims of the study were to determine if LHD leaders would be willing and able to generate post-project strategies to perpetuate project-initiated government/faith planning alliances (sustainability), and to develop portable methods and materials to enhance model application and impact in other health jurisdictions (scalability).
The majority (95%) of the 178 lay citizens receiving the GPP intervention and submitting complete evaluations reported that planning-supportive objectives had been achieved. Moreover, all criteria for inferring model feasibility, sustainability, and scalability were met.
Within the span of a six-month period, LHDs, FBOs, and AHCs can work effectively to plan, implement, and evaluate what appears to be an effective, practical, and durable model of capacity building for public mental health emergency planning.
McCabeOL, PerryC, AzurM, TaylorHG, GwonH, MosleyA, SemonN, LinksJM. Guided Preparedness Planning with Lay Communities: Enhancing Capacity of Rural Emergency Response Through a Systems-Based Partnership. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;28(1):1-8.
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