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Disaster Preparedness Training for Tribal Leaders http://www.occup-med.com/content/pdf/1745-6673-3-2.pdf (pdf file format)

Describes a disaster preparedness training program for tribal leaders conducted in Arizona. Discusses the role of cultural competency, respect for tribal sovereignty, solicitation of historical examples of indigenous preparedness, and incorporation of tribal community networks in the success of the program.

Date: 2008
Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology Volume: 3 Issue: 2

from The Rural Assistance Center— a collaborative effort of the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) funded by a grant through HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy. All listings contained in this e-mail can also be accessed from the Rural Assistance Center Web site, Go to http://www.raconline.org/listserv/health/011708.html

The Challenges section is very important– pointing out the disadvantages of the “usual approach” to working with tribes (and why grassroots science or community-based programs would be better)

There were several challenges to implementing the trainings in the field. These were mostly created by the very short timeline for the project due to funding restrictions. This meant there was little time to visit in the field with key stakeholders and to further encourage participation. As a result, the identification of the training participants was left almost entirely to the BT Coordinator for each tribe. Given the newness of many of these individuals to a newly created role, not all of these coordinators were well integrated into their local public health system. Some were not based within their health programs, but rather operated out of their emergency management departments. As a result several trainings had limited public health personnel participation.

Additionally the scope of the project was very broad as it encompassed all five regions within the state, and required cooperation between tribal, county and federal agency counterparts. Fragmentation within each local public health system resulted in some communication breakdowns and last minute requests.

Other challenges to participation in the training included limited resources available to the tribes. In some cases there were no travel funds for relevant personnel to attend the training session. In other instances, public health emergency preparedness and issues of bioterrorism were not considered priorities particularly compared other competing needs facing under-funded tribal health programs. Subsequently, there were several of the tribes whose BT coordinators and public health personnel were not represented at the training.

In regards to the curriculum, a “one-size fits all” approach created some challenges to meeting the needs of the audience. Due to the diverse backgrounds, roles and skills sets of the participants it was difficult to find the right pitch for all. For some it was too basic and for others too advanced. The content areas required for each module were very broad and it was difficult to present all the content comfortably in three half-day sessions.

Related content (off-site)–
Cooperative Extension Work in Indian Country
Public involvement how-to readings
Developing Minority Community Capacity in Environmental Health & Hazardous Substances
Biocultural Dimensions of Environment and Health

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