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UAlbany Preparedness Center Launches Regional Training Initiative

CPHP-PERLC receives $575,170 in funding through cooperative agreement through CDC and Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 12, 2016) -- The University at Albany School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Preparedness – Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (CPHP-PERLC) is working to translate public health preparedness and response (PHPR) research and trainings into local practice. These trainings include preparing for and responding to extreme events such as hurricanes, blizzards, Ebola, pandemic influenza and possible bioterrorism events.

The project will utilize statewide, regional and local networks and support systems to develop a sustainable system to implement of PERLC and Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) training programs to emergency preparedness partners such as county health departments, hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies and other emergency response agencies within New York State.

The project is funded through a $575,170 cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

UAlbany School of Public Health Grant
UAlbany's Center for Public Health Preparedness is launching a project to translate public health preparedness and response (PHPR) research and trainings into local practice.

The Albany CPHP-PERLC will pilot this process through a demonstration project focused on Psychological First Aid (PFA) training for public health, healthcare and other emergency response workers. PFA is used by all response workers interacting with survivors of extreme events to help reduce stress. PFA is not mental health counseling but can help identify survivors in need of such counseling.

The project will develop a PFA Training Coordinator Guide, orient local agency training coordinators to use the guide and assist with the delivery of trainings, and work with local agencies to develop training policies to, for example, identify staffs that need PFA training and the frequency of refresher courses. The Institute for Disaster Mental Health at the State University of New York, New Paltz will collaborate on the development of the training guide and the training of local agency coordinators.

Statewide partners in the grant also include the New York State Departments of Health and Mental Health, the NYS Association of County Health Officials, the Healthcare Association of New York State, the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Inc., the Home Care Association of New York State, and the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. The project will run through August of 2017.

"This grant enhances the Center for Public Health Preparedness’s ability to provide much needed training and technical assistance to local emergency preparedness and response agencies across the state," said UAlbany School of Public Health Dean Philip C. Nasca.

Guthrie S. Birkhead, MD, Former Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Public Health will serve as Principal Investigator on the project.

"Local health and mental health departments, health care providers and other response agencies are the backbone of our response to natural and man-made disasters," said Dr. Birkhead. "The grant will provide them access to the most up-to-date, evidence-based trainings on psychological first aid, a key part of any response, and will be a model for the delivery of trainings on other topics."

The goals of the current project include:

  • Establish a network of researchers, knowledge users and practitioners to help facilitate the translation and dissemination of PHPR trainings and products into practice at the local, regional and state levels;
  • Develop support tools (Training Coordinator Guides) and systems that help build individual and organizational capacity to translate evidence-based trainings and tools into sustainable policy and practice; and
  • Implement a dissemination strategy to increase the reach, uptake and impact of PERLC/PERRC products.

In September 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health to develop a national network of public health preparedness centers. Funded by CDC since 2002, UAlbany’s CPHP-PERLC has established itself as a national leader in the production of high-quality, award-winning educational programs, including in-person trainings, satellite and archived presentations, interactive, web-based training and academic courses. The Center also provides technical assistance related to planning and implementing drills and exercises, as well as evaluation support.

UAlbany’s School of Public Health, created through a memorandum of understanding between the University at Albany and NYSDOH, has advanced biomedical research, public health policy and program development, peer-reviewed scholarship, and teaching. This year, it is celebrating the 30th anniversary of this unique model of graduate public health education. The School, initially located within NYSDOH with its staff as the founding faculty, has evolved to have an independent campus and full-time academic faculty, but remains closely linked with the Department of Health. The School and the Department work together to improve the health of the New York’s citizens by providing an academic focus to problems faced in health department practice settings.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.