The United States needs a healthcare and public health workforce that possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond to any disaster or public health emergency in a timely and appropriate manner. The level of readiness and willingness to participate is critical to the success of any large-scale disaster response. The role of healthcare professionals across a broad range of specialties and during all phases of a disaster should be understood as disaster competence will be critical to population outcomes. The absence of a clearly articulated vision and framework for disaster education is not without consequences. An unprepared workforce has the potential to limit the effectiveness of local, state and federal response plans, limit organization surge capacity and to negatively impact health outcomes in populations impacted by disasters.
A team of researchers from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis, Saint Louis University, and Johns Hopkins recently undertook a multi-pronged approached to identify essential educational needs and core competencies, as well as to assess the status of integration of state and local-level population focused training. Data were synthesized from in-depth discussions with key informants, review of relevant documents, guided discussions at key partner stakeholder meetings, review and abstraction from available core competencies and other government planning documents, the survey of medical, public health, and nursing programs and interviews with experts.
We developed a toolkit using a collaborative and partner-centered approach to disaster preparedness and response which is designed for interdisciplinary workforce development. We are posting all of the toolkits on https://disasternursing.org/toolkit/ and are dedicated to making them all available in the Creative Commons. The modules, curriculum, and workshop all reflect collaboration between public health and primary care. The flexible guidance will help primary care providers to apply theoretical principals during disaster response and preparedness activities with a population focus. A workforce that is continually learning and collaborative is essential to prepared communities. All are welcome to attend the workshop that is scheduled for July 27, 2017. You can register at https://disasternursing.org/events/ . The event is free, but registration is required.