Online Program

Supervisors' role in balancing personal, work demands, and team needs in addressing disaster worker mental health

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Jonathan Rosen, MS, CIH, National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, Schenectady, NY
One key element of the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program’s (WTP) Disaster Resilience Training Project, is the need to train disaster supervisors about stress, trauma, and resiliency. People who supervise or coordinate workers and volunteers during response, recovery and reconstruction are typically subjected to the same stressors and traumas as the workers they are supervising. They have the additional burden of getting the work done in conformance with demands of organizational leadership. Supervisors do not often receive training in recognizing and supporting workers who are affected by stress and trauma. To fill that void, NIEHS WTP developed a training program for Disaster Supervisors as part of a series of resiliency training programs for disaster workers, supervisors, and care providers.

The Disaster Supervisor Resilience program uses interactive adult training techniques to engage supervisors in learning to 1) recognize and respond to their own and team members’ reactions to stress and trauma, 2) recognize the unique role of supervisors in balancing health, safety, resilience, and productivity, 3) demonstrate stress reduction and supportive skills, 4) obtain support through community and organizational mental health resources; and 5) provide leadership and support for the people being supervised.  The Supervisor course follows a similar format to the worker course, with additional emphasis on the leadership role of supervisors.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
List 3 obstacles that prevent supervisors from recognizing and responding to disaster worker stress and trauma. Describe 3 actions supervisors can take to support disaster workers who are having reactions to stress and trauma. Explain how the NIEHS Disaster Worker and Supervisor training programs might be used and disseminated across the country

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist with a Masters Degree in Industrial Health with more than 25 years experience. I have been actively working in the field of training and addressing disaster worker mental health issues.
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.