208291 Public health and the faith community: An emerging evidence-base for a sustainable disaster preparedness model

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:35 AM

O. Lee McCabe, PhD , Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Henry Gordon Taylor, MD, MPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
PURPOSE: Faith communities are an excellent resource for behavioral health surge capacity. They already provide social and spiritual support and are highly trusted sources of information. However, differences in organizational culture, management structures, information transfer, and jargon inhibit sustained collaboration for public health preparedness. In addition, academic partners often conduct isolated trainings and short-term grants rather than nurturing community partnerships. METHODS: This session will share findings from three years of Faith Community Preparedness programs and describe plans for continued collaborations and research between Johns Hopkins faculty, local health department emergency preparedness coordinators, and faith communities. Community-based participatory research methods were combined with interactive trainings and structured, post-intervention technical assistance. A particular emphasis was placed on serving populations with mental, physical, financial, geographic, racial, or ethnic vulnerabilities. RESULTS: One hundred faith communities participated in Motivational Preparedness Training (MPT), Guided Preparedness Planning, and Targeted Technical Assistance in four rural Mid-Shore counties of Maryland. More than one-fourth of those trained in MPT subsequently applied to the Maryland Professional Volunteer Corps. Relatively brief, specialized protocols and templates improved the willingness, ability, and readiness of faith communities to plan for disasters. After 4 months, approximately one-tenth had developed site-appropriate preparedness plans. CONCLUSIONS: Bi-directional learning informed a best-practice model for enhancing the capacity and competency of communities to protect against, respond to, and recover from public health disasters. Mutual learning, organizational strengthening, and operational effectiveness resulted from systematic strengthening of trust relationships. These are necessary and perhaps sufficient elements for successful preparedness planning.

Learning Objectives:
Explain the philosophical and strategic underpinnings promoting successful collaboration among partners Identify key elements of the training curriculum that resulted in participant reports of improved self-efficacy, and eventually state recognition as, first-responders to public health emergencies Describe the technical assistance workshops that brought together faith-based organizations and local health departments to engage in emergency preparedness planning efforts List the specific approach to making the academic/faith/government model of preparedness planning both portable and sustainable in the future.

Keywords: Faith Community, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: McCabe, O.L., Lating, J.M., Everly, G.S., Mosley, A.M., Teague, P.J., Links, J.M., Kaminsky, M.J. (2008). Psychological first aid training for the faith community: A model curriculum. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 9, 3, 181-192 McCabe, O.L., Mosley, A.M, Gwon, H.S., Everly, G.S., Lating, J.M., Links, J.M., & . Kaminsky, M.J. (2008). The tower of ivory meets the house of worship: Psychological first aid training for the faith community. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 9, 3, 171-180 McCabe, O.L., McHugh, P.R., Kaminsky, M.J. (2007). Assessment in disaster mental health: A logic of case formulation. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 6, November/December, 297-306.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.