Just this summer alone, Americans have faced multiple public health threats, including the Zika Virus, west coast wildfires, and most recently Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. As one of the first lines of defense protecting U.S. communities from emergencies and other major health risks, now more than ever, it is critical that local health departments (LHDs) have the capacity to effectively respond.
In commemoration of National Preparedness Month, NACCHO is highlighting key resources and best practices designed to better equip LHDs to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Every week throughout the month of September, NACCHO will post a new feature blog promoting tools, programs, and/or model practices that can help LHDs, better engage their staff, partner agencies, and community members to be informed, ready, and resilient in the event of a disaster or emergency event.
Emergency preparedness coordinators ensure that local health departments have planned for, can respond to, and can recover from public health emergencies. To become effective in their roles, new preparedness coordinators must become familiar with a myriad of existing plans, partners, guidance, requirements, and regulations. In order to help new emergency preparedness coordinators navigate the complex landscape of public health preparedness, NACCHO offers a yearlong training and mentoring program called Roadmap to Ready for preparedness coordinators at local health departments who have been in their roles for less than two years. To date, the program has trained more than 115 preparedness coordinators and supported 23 mentors, with several mentors serving in their roles for multiple cohorts.
As part of Roadmap to Ready, new preparedness coordinators are assigned to mentor led teams and obtain the knowledge, skills, connections and resources they need to successfully lead and coordinate public health disaster/emergency preparedness planning and response activities at their local jurisdictions. The program uses a blended learning methodology, including an interactive in-person workshop, Community of Practice webinars, access to a virtual community sharing space, continuous mentoring throughout the course of the year, weekly resources, and other tools to aid in participant success.
The Roadmap to Ready program aims to fulfill the following three goals:
- Provide an overview of the public health preparedness landscape, including essential federal guidance, policies and regulations, and partners to engage;
- Deliver a curriculum to help coordinators more rapidly adjust to their new roles through the provision of specifically tailored resources and individualized action and learning plans; and
- Establish a network of local emergency preparedness coordinators through the assembly of teams led by experienced preparedness mentors and the development of collaborative learning and sharing platforms.
Program Workshop Component
Potential applicants must be available to attend one of two Roadmap to Ready in-person introductory trainings, which will be held on March 27-28, 2018 in San Diego, California and on April 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia (in conjunction with NACCHO’s 2018 Preparedness Summit). The purpose of the in-person workshop is to provide a high-level overview of the most important policies, topics, and resources that impact public health preparedness. These interactive workshops will include a variety of focused, collaborative breakout sessions on priority areas that make up the foundation of public health preparedness work.
Additional program details, including eligibility information, and participant and mentor duties can be found on the Roadmap to Ready Website. New preparedness coordinators and experienced preparedness professionals looking to apply may also be eligible to receive a scholarship to supplement the in-person workshop expenses.
Information about applying to be a part of the 2018 cohort as a participant or as a mentor will be available later this fall. Interested applicants should monitor the Roadmap to Ready Website and can also request to be added to the prospective applicant listserv by emailing NACCHO’s Preparedness team at firstname.lastname@example.org. NACCHO encourages local health officials and partner agencies to share information about Roadmap to Ready with others individuals who might be interested in participating.
Local health officials, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit volunteers, and other partner stakeholders are highly encouraged to share all of their preparedness efforts, resources, and community engagement events throughout National Preparedness Month. Both LHDs and MRC Units are invited to take the NACCHO Preparedness Pledge, and submit an abstract for our upcoming 2018 Preparedness Summit. NACCHO also encourages LHDs/MRC units to share their Preparedness Month activities throughout September via social media. Each week during the month of September, NACCHO will highlight LHD/MRC Preparedness Month activity posts that tag NACCHO on Twitter (@NACCHOalerts) or on Facebook (@NACCHOhq) and use #NatlPrep. Click here for more about NACCHO’s 2017 National Preparedness Month activities and resources.