Why Use Community of Practice Models

Review of Strengthening Family Coping Resources During COVID-19

“What are some of your family traditions during the holidays?” This question was posed by Dr. Laurel Kiser to the trainees in the Strengthening Family Coping Resources During COVID-19 Community of Practice. “We make cookies!” “I decorate for everything!” “We talk about our favorite family memories!” were some of the responses shared by trainees. Dr. Laurel Kiser, PhD, MBA, and Vikki Rompala, LCSW, discussed how maintaining family traditions, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, can help minimize the negative impact that traumatic events have on children, parents, care givers, and whole family units.

On January 5th, The Mountain Plains MHTTC concluded a three month long community of practice learning cohort for providers in Region 8. This Community of Practice entitled Strengthening Family Coping Resources during COVID-19 hosted trainers Laurel Kiser, PhD, MBA, and Vikki Rompala, LCSW, from the Strengthening Family Coping Resources Center to provide trainees with a seven module series on Strengthening Family Coping Resources. Over fifteen mental health professionals from across HHS Region 8 participated in this training series from October 2020 to January 2021.

The Strengthening Family Coping Resources model is a manualized, trauma-focused, skills-based intervention for families who have been impacted by trauma and has practice-based evidence of decreasing symptoms of PTSD and behavior problems in children.

Dr. Kiser and Ms. Rompala guided training participants through the Strengthening Family Coping Resources model by focusing on the seven key modules of this evidence supported intervention strategy. Trainees in this series received a copy of the Strengthening Family Coping Resources: Intervention for Families Impacted by Trauma book book free of charge courtesy of the Mountain Plains MHTTC.

Recognizing the benefits of engaging in sustained, cohort-based training, the Mountain Plains MHTTC chose to implement this training using the Community of Practice learning format. Delivering the seven modules of this training series across three months allowed trainees to engage in pre-session learning assignments, acquire new skills during training, conceptualize skills with fictional case vignettes, practice new skills in their day-to-day work, and return to the learning cohort to discuss successes and challenges. Due to the continued challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic trainers worked collaboratively with trainees to discuss how the Strengthening Family Coping Resources skills could be applied to families impacted by COVID-19.

The Mountain Plains MHTTC plans to provide additional Community of Practice training sessions in 2021 and beyond.

If you are interested in learning more about the Strengthening Family Coping Resources during COVID-19 Community of Practice or are interested in attending future Community of Practice learning sessions, please contact Mountain Plains MHTTC Program Manager David Terry (david.v.terry@und.edu).