The University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP) offers a combination of in-person and distance-based training to the public health workforce. Their distance-based programs afford the center a national and international audience. Web-based products cover a wide range of contemporary and vital topics in the field of public health preparedness and include twenty-one interactive online courses, more than 50 broadcasts, and Top-Ten trainings and toolkits. The self-paced, highly interactive web-based courses, such as the flagship Preparedness and Emergency Response to Pandemics course, the Terrorism, Preparedness and Public Health course, the Emergency Preparedness Training for Hospital Clinicians course, and the Working in a POD course are continuously updated to include the most recent and relevant emergency preparedness information. Along with easy access, the interactive online courses provide learners with the opportunity to earn free continuing education credits (CEUs).
A major focus of their work this year is to build capacity for Psychological First Aid (PFA) training, policy and practice across New York State. The UAlbany CPHP is collaborating with the New York State Department of Health Regional Health Emergency Preparedness Coalitions (HEPCs) to develop, implement and evaluate a PFA Demonstration Project. Partners on the project include the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz, the New York State Office of Mental Health, the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Homecare Association of New York State and the American Red Cross of Eastern New York.
The strategy of the plan is to build on existing NYS Office of Mental Health Disaster Mental Health efforts to train non-mental health experts in Psychological First Aid. As part of the project, experienced Disaster Mental Health experts were recruited to serve as “Master Trainers”. On August 17, 2016, these “Master Trainers” helped train 77 social workers and behavioral health staff in upstate New York to serve as PFA Technical Assistance (TA) providers. The role of a PFA TA provider is to help facilitate interactive practice based sessions with local emergency preparedness partners. For National Preparedness Month, the CPHP, will hold PFA for Training Coordinators sessions on September 9, 26, and 27 in upstate New York. The recently trained PFA TA providers will help moderate the interactive training sessions.