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Model Practices Program


 
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"National and global events have demonstrated the urgent need to effectively prepare vulnerable populations and the communities in which they live to ensure the safety of all in emergency situations. The Lane County Public Health Emergency Preparedness program addressed this need through a Preparedness Mentoring Project designed to increase the ability of local community agencies that serve vulnerable populations to continue to carry out their mission and offer potentially life-sustaining services like food boxes to their clients and many others who would need this support in a disaster. On any given night in Lane County, Oregon, over 3,959 people are homeless on the streets or living in temporary shelters. Thousands more of our low-income residents consistently rely on local agencies to supplement basic needs including food, shelter, and health support services. Even those who do not typically receive these services may need to resort to them in the aftermath of a disaster. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are an appropriate and trusted avenue for communication, service provision, and problem solving for many vulnerable populations, especially in chaotic emergency environments when they may be the only resource available to those they serve.

The main objective of the Preparedness Mentoring Project was to develop and test a preparedness curriculum and tools targeting community based organizations serving the homeless population of Lane County to help build a network of community agencies where preparedness is seamlessly integrated into their everyday work practices, where preparedness is neither an afterthought, nor a separate task, but is an essential part of doing business and of assuring that they stay in business even under trying circumstances. This objective was successfully accomplished through a planned program of three workshops and one-on-one mentoring. 36 local community agencies participated in a series of 3 workshops over the course of 6 months, and 26 of them received additional one-on-one on-site preparedness mentoring. The project adopted culturally appropriate training and mentoring materials that incorporated health promotion and behavioral change strategies including the Trans-theoretical Model, Organizational Change theory and Brief Motivational Interviewing as the framework for the intervention.

The demonstration project was funded by a grant of $263,480 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and covered all project costs including 2.3 full-time employee equivalents, contractor and consultant costs, project evaluation and data analysis, workshop costs including facilities, food and incentives, travel and mentoring expenses, and all project supplies and printed materials. This budget was for the entire duration of the project, from October 2008 through September 2009 (one year). The project’s participant-centered techniques drew upon and encouraged each organization’s own capacity to successfully write, adopt, and test emergency preparedness plans, policies and work practices.

By the end of the project, participants drafted an Emergency Plan that was easy to use, relevant, and sustainable. While these proven strategies are widely used in many public health settings, they are not broadly incorporated to the realm of emergency preparedness. In addition, this project collected substantial data throughout its course to evaluate both outcomes and process in order to validate this strategy as a best approach to emergency preparedness promotion. Feedback from key partners and stakeholders was incorporated throughout the project’s lifecycle starting with the initial intervention design and culminating with the program for the final workshop, helping to sustain a true partnership between the local public health department and the community organizations served by the project. By the conclusion, the main objectives were overwhelmingly met: all participating organizations developed coordinated and c"

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Lane County Public Health Department
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Preparedness Mentoring Project in Lane County, Oregon
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