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Training Spotlight

Training Spotlight

Violence in the Workplace: Prevention and Intervention Learning Materials

Violence in the WorkplaceThe axiom that "violence pays no respect to boundaries" remind us that violence can happen in any setting, including the workplace.

This “Just-In-Time” Spotlight presents trainings and resources to assist in focusing on how we interact with potentially violent individuals during periods of high stress and emergency, as well as the broader prevention agenda of workplace mental wellness.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Spotlight Overview

As members of the MCH workforce, our daily focus is on the safety and health of our nation's children and families. To accomplish this, we must strive to establish work environments that foster our own safety and well-being. Issues such as conflict resolution, self-reflection, and cultural competence – all MCH core competencies – are called into play during the process of keeping our work settings safe and productive. At the same time, the Naval Yard tragedy and other recent shootings emphasize the importance of broader issues such as mental health, violence prevention, and disaster preparedness.

Included in this Spotlight are violence prevention strategies, worse-case-scenario drills, mental health self-assessments tools, and training materials on workplace mental health programs. The Spotlight is intended to address the safety needs of the MCH workforce by highlighting courses and other learning materials for those with limited time for exploring the concepts and skills, as well as for those who can allocate larger blocks of time for learning. In addition, it highlights trainings of different modalities (reading, viewable presentations, web tutorials) to provide multiple avenues to learning.

These trainings and resources are of particular utility for state Title V programs that play a key role in supporting state-wide health infrastructure. As we look for ways to make our workforce healthier and workplaces safer, we should think about which agencies we can partner with to share these resources and help achieve our goals.

Workplace Violence Trainings and Resources

These materials address MCH Leadership Competency 6: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

Online Trainings and Videos:

Active Shooter: What You Can Do (2011) provides employees and managers with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations. (Interactive Web-based course. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute).

Managing Conflict in the Workplace (2010) discusses dealing with conflict from a variety of different types of individuals and includes practical applications using a healthcare case study to build fundamental skills in managing conflict in a healthcare setting. (Online course, South Central Public Health Partnership).

Options for Consideration (2013) demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter in the workplace. It reviews the choices of evacuating, hiding, or, as an option of last resort, challenging the shooter. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene. (3 minute video. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)).

Run Hide Fight (2012) provides a graphic depiction of how to react if someone begins shooting in an office or public place. (6 minute YouTube video. Ready Houston with funding from DHS).

Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses (2013) presents information to help healthcare workers better understand the scope and nature of violence in the healthcare workplace. The training includes key elements of a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program, how organizational systems impact workplace violence, how to apply individual strategies, and develop skills for preventing and responding to workplace violence. (Online course. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).

Training Manuals and Toolkits:

Active Shooter: Preparedness Materials (2012) combines multiple products that assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter, including: a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card. Also available in Spanish. (Department of Homeland Security (DHS)),

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Handbook on Workplace Violence Prevention and Response (2001) provides an overview for all USDA employees that explains what workplace violence is and provides tools and resources for responding to workplace incidents.

Workplace Violence: Awareness and Prevention for Employers and Employees (2012) helps employers and employees recognize workplace violence, minimize and prevent it, and respond appropriately if it occurs. Included is a sample workplace violence prevention program that employers can adapt to their company’s size and type. (Guidebook. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health).

Workplace Violence Page (continually updated) includes general information, training resources, and prevention programs focused on workplace violence. (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)).

Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center includes facts about the problem, a model workplace policy, and a guide to protection orders.

Mental Health Trainings and Resources

These materials address MCH Leadership Competencies 2: Self Reflection and 3: Ethics and Professionalism.

Online Trainings:

Changing World of Work: Are You Changing Too? (2012) provides insight on how to negotiate stressful times in the workplace. (90-minute video training. Alabama Department of Public Health).

Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response (2012) integrates knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to cultural competency in order to help lessen racial and ethnic health care disparities brought on by disaster situations. (Online course. Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Facing Ethical Challenges, Dealing with Outcomes (2009) presents real stories from public health professionals in the field are presented that demonstrate ethical dilemmas they’ve encountered. A protocol is presented that public health professionals might use or adapt to guide decision-making during crises. (40 minute webinar. Part of the University of Washington's Northwest Center for Public Health Practice Hot Topics series).

Sustaining Primary Prevention Programming in Behavioral Health Webinar (2013) provides an introduction to the emergence of preventive interventions to help assure the mental health of the population. It includes federal initiatives and state and local funding mechanisms. (Archived webinar. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors).

Training Manuals and Blogs:

Leading the Workplace Wellness Movement: Public Health Departments’ Role (2013) invites professionals in state and local health departments to comment on and share via social media the need to make the public health workplace healthier and safer. (Blog post. John Skendall of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Public Health blog).

Mental Health Policies and Programs in the Workplace (2005) provides guidance for policy-makers and planners on developing policies and comprehensive strategies for improving the mental health of populations; using existing resources to achieve the greatest possible benefits; providing effective services to persons in need; helping people with mental disorders to reintegrate into all aspects of community life, thus improving their overall quality of life. (Policy statement. World Health Organization (WHO)).


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine. The Information HelpLine is an information and referral service which can be reached by calling 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 A.M.- 6 P.M., EST or by email at

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. It can be reached by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Workplace Violence: Prevention and Intervention Learning Materials
October 2013; Updated August 2015, March 2017
Authors: Keisha Watson-Bah, Ph.D., Beth DeFrancis-Sun, M.L.S., John Richards, M.A., AITP, MCH Navigator
Reviewers: Anne Crotty, MPH, Child Health Specialty Clinics, Iowa; Lise Jankowski, MCH Regional Nurse Consultant, Illinois Department of Public Health; Suzanne Bronheim, Ph.D., National Center for Cultural Competence; Deborah Perry, Ph.D., Head Start National Center on Health; Olivia Pickett, M.L.S., M.A., NCEMCH

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.