In the past decade, since the terrorist and anthrax attacks in 2001, public health emergency preparedness and response have become critical areas of attention. A tremendous amount of training, effort, and resources have been committed to improving the training of public health officials working directly in emergency response and public health preparedness and resulted in an impressively expanded and competent specialized workforce. However, given the strain on personnel resources during large-scale public health emergencies, it became evident the rest of the public health workforce needed increased competency in responding to public health emergencies as well. Thus, consistent with the purposes of CDC-RFA-TP10-1001, we, the Southwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (SWPERLC), aim to respond to this need by partnering with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, several county health departments (including those in the most densely populated areas of Oklahoma), and numerous tribal public health agencies. We will assess the broad public health workforce needs for all employees in the CDC-defined employment categories;identify gaps in the agency/organizational learning and competency building process created by the difference between what is presently offered and those areas delineated in the nine Public Health Preparedness and Response Core Competency domains;develop curriculum for education and training the public health workforce in accordance with the findings of the needs assessment and gap analysis through modifying, adapting and utilizing the wealth of material available through CDC;and by developing new curriculum as necessary. Additionally, the SWPERLC will utilize the range of modalities most appropriate to the large geographical coverage, and range of technological capabilities of the collaborating partners to deliver the curriculum in the most effective and efficacious means possible including, but not limited to live classroom, online, distant education, teleconferencing and digital media. In addition, we will respond to specific training requests already stated by our partnering agencies in their respective letters of support and be prepared to respond to future requests. The quality of the training will primarily be assessed on three levels of learning, reaction (the attitudes of trainees towards the value of their training), learning (the degree to which trainees acquired new knowledge and skills in preparedness and emergency response), and behavior (the extent to which knowledge and skills were successfully translated into action while on the job). Learning levels one and two (reaction and learning, respectively) will be evaluated at the individual level and learning level three (behavior) will be assess at the agency level. The SWPERLC will expand its opportunities to develop partnerships with other agencies that employ public health workers, including previous out-of-state partners such as those in New Mexico and Colorado. As trainings prove to be effective and validate the core competencies, we intend to have the core curricula imbedded within agencies that can then share their expertise with others. Utilizing train the trainer programs will be the best tool for this endeavor and exemplify the translation of the Public Health Preparedness and Response Core Competencies for application in public health practice.

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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City
United States
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