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Dr. Danilea Werner

Social Workers’ Preparedness for School and Community Crisis

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“What we found is that if a school had a crisis team, and if that person was part of the team and had helped develop or knew that they had a very well-developed or comprehensive response plan, and that they exercised that plan at least once a year but preferably twice a year, those people not only felt significantly more prepared, but they felt that their school and their colleagues were significantly more prepared to handle a crisis.”

Dr. Danilea Werner

We often hear news of disastrous events that occur at schools. While there is much that we can do to make schools safe places for students, teachers, and staff, sometimes a crisis is beyond our powers to predict or prevent. Social workers are among the first responders when a crisis does strike. Consequently, we play an important role in making sure that our schools and communities are prepared to respond swiftly and effectively to a crisis.

In this podcast, Danilea Werner discusses her research on the preparedness of school social workers to respond to crises that arise. She discusses data on social workers perceptions of readiness to respond effectively to a crisis, and the factors that positively contribute to those perceptions. She also prevalence of different kinds of crises that occur, as well as practical steps that social workers can take to help their schools and communities to prepare to respond to crises.

Danilea Werner is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Auburn University. She received a Ph.D. in Counseling and Family Therapy and an MSW and MPH from St. Louis University in Saint Louis, MO. Dr. Werner has experience in professional social work and academia. Before joining the faculty at Auburn University, she worked as the National Health Director for The OASIS Institute, and as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Saint Louis University. Dr. Werner has also worked in disaster preparedness, and public health education. Her research interests include mental health disaster preparedness and response specifically focusing on school and community personnel. Dr. Werner’s work with mental health providers in Alabama after the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill was featured in Auburn Speaks, a university publication highlighting faculty research and outreach and other international publications.

Interviewer: Lisa Caprio, LMSW

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