SAMHSA launched the first Master Trainer Development Program in the Pacific Jurisdictions, a new initiative to prepare 18 trainers and instructors from the islands to deliver behavioral health training and education to their colleagues in the region. The program, delivered in partnership with the Pacific Behavioral Health Collaborating Council, was launched in Guam in early March. Among the prevention specialists facilitating workshops were epidemiologists and evaluators from SAMHSA’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT), a national training and technical assistance center with experience providing services to the Jurisdictions.
Prior to the meeting, participants selected a “priority” area of behavioral health to focus on during the training. For example, candidates from RMI selected the pharmacology of addiction, while Palau focused on the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) intervention. During the meeting, participants attended workshops to build both content-area and training expertise. They also created individualized action plans for building capacity in their priority areas. This summer, SAMHSA intends to sponsor each participant for a two-week visit to a “host site” (a service site, a college or institution either off-island or in the region) to observe program activities and gather materials and ideas for teaching their content focus.
CAPT staff facilitated two half-day workshops designed to introduce key prevention concepts—Foundations of Epidemiology and Principles of Evaluation. “Many of the candidates arrived with a treatment or mental health background,” explains Alyssa O’Hair, coordinator of the CAPT’s West Resource Team. “But they wear multiple hats in their communities. So it would be no surprise if they were called upon to do behavioral health and substance abuse prevention work, as well.”
The two CAPT programs were engaging and well received, combining storytelling, dialogue, and opportunities for peer-sharing. They were also highly relevant and tailored to audience needs. The Foundations of Epidemiology workshop, for example, incorporated data from each of the Jurisdictions’ epidemiological profiles, providing concrete examples of descriptive and analytic epidemiological data. Providing clear evidence of the significant impact of the CAPT’s epidemiology training for the Pacific, epidemiologist Annette David joined CAPT trainers to describe the Pacific epidemiologists workgroup.
CAPT staff appreciated the opportunity to provide the training in the Pacific. “It helps us understand, first hand, the diverse island cultures represented in the Pacific Jurisdictions,” explains Wayne Harding, principal investigator and chief of data and evaluation with the CAPT. “In island culture, if you want to do business with someone, it’s important to visit him. Even among the islands, cultures vary greatly, and our trainings need to reflect this.”
For more information, contact Carol McHale, Senior Social Science Analyst, SAMHSA/CSAP (Carol.McHale@samhsa.hhs.gov )