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National Vicarious Trauma Toolkit Project Looking for Pilot Sites

Through a federal grant, Northeastern University in Boston is seeking four pilot sites to be part of a national-scope project to implement and evaluate a vicarious trauma toolkit (VTT). The IAFC is a partner in the project, which is funded through a two-year grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The VTT will be an online repository of resources collected, assessed and selected as the best resources being used thus far in the field. The toolkit will be a major contribution to a field that is hungry for resources to address vicarious trauma. Pilot sites will test-drive the toolkit and ensure it meets its purpose: to be a state-of-the-art resource for first responders, including firefighters and EMTs among others, to learn about and respond to vicarious trauma.

According to Beth Molnar, associate director of the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern and the project's principal investigator, the project has made excellent progress. “Our critical next step is to select four pilot sites … that will benefit from expertly designed training and technical assistance while playing a hands-on role in shaping the final toolkit.”

Pilot Site Structure and Activities

The VTT Project will require intensive involvement of pilot sites from April to June 2015, with training at the beginning and a project wrap-up at the end. Each pilot site will have an eight-member team, with two representatives from each discipline the VTT is meant to serve: firefighters, EMS providers, law enforcement and victim assistance. The overall time commitment for each member of the team is 45 hours over the five-month period.

Tasks for the pilot include:

  • Conducting an organizational assessment of the agency’s readiness to address vicarious trauma
  • Identifying gaps and challenges in current policies, procedures, practices and programs
  • Developing an action plan that outlines the steps needed to implement the VTT to address gaps and build on existing strategies
  • Evaluating the VTT and its usefulness in addressing vicarious trauma

The Toolkit will include resources that are relevant to all users and those that are intended for specific disciplines. In this way, pilot sites will be able to quickly find resources that are best suited for them and their colleagues and important for those responding to mass casualty events and those chronically exposed to the trauma victims of violence experience on a daily basis.

Full instructions on how to become a pilot site are available on the NEU website. The deadline for applying to be a pilot site is October 22, 2014, by 11:59 EST.

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