ATLANTA—Georgia State University’s School of Public Health has received federal funding to help build a workforce of trained professionals to implement sexual assault prevention practices and activities in the military.
The project will be funded through one-year $299,922 personnel agreements from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Plan of Action, released in 2019, presented phased steps military departments will take towards their commitment to end the threat of sexual assault within their ranks. One item in the plan included a university-military pipeline to develop a sexual assault prevention workforce. These personnel would specialize in implementing and evaluating research-based sexual assault prevention activities in the workplace.
The School of Public Health team aims to develop a proof of concept to help SAPRO better understand the feasibility, cost, training and credentialing process to build the university-military pipeline for individuals with evaluation expertise. The team will also explore Georgia State’s tracks that align with core competencies outlined in sexual assault prevention in military curriculum, build the content into online courses and pilot the content.
According to the DoD’s Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, 13,000 women and 7,500 men in the military community were reported as victims of sexual assault or rape in 2018. Service men and service women also reported sexual harassment, with the majority harassed by those of equal or higher rank.
“Sexual assault, suicide, and substance abuse are long-standing public health issues that negatively impact the trajectories of United States military personnel,” said Dr. Shannon Self-Brown, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences and co-principal investigator on the project.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to help develop a pipeline to connect students with evaluation expertise to the United States Military’s sexual assault prevention workforce to ensure that our military do not experience unnecessary and preventable harm while serving our country,” said Dr. Amanda Gilmore, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences, the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development and co-principal investigator on the project.
“By playing a leading role in building the workforce of personnel who are trained to select, implement, and evaluate best practices targeting these public health issues, we hope that we will see significant reductions and make a public health impact that will lead to better lives for our military personnel,” Self-Brown said.
The overall project endeavors to offer a credentialing or certificate process to ensure the graduates entering the Department of Defense’s prevention workforce have the appropriate training and skills to be successful on the job. The goal is for future program graduates to start military careers in the prevention of sexual assault, substance abuse and suicide.
“We hope to propose a feasible training plan that will establish Georgia State University as a Department of Defense partner to award certificates and credentials to those interested in working in prevention on military bases or military installations,” Self-Brown said.
The School of Public Health research team also includes Dr. Laura Salazar, professor and 2nd Century scholar; Missale Ayele, lead education technology specialist; Dr. Ruschelle Leone, research assistant professor; Dr. JoAnne Bielecki, director of Training and Implementation in the National SafeCare Training and Research Center, and doctoral students Elizabeth Perry and Jessica Prince.
Chair and Professor, Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences
Co-Director for Research and Development, National SafeCare Training and Research Center
School of Public Health
Dr. Shannon Self-Brown’s research focuses on child maltreatment prevention, behavioral parenting intervention, youth trauma intervention, and implementation science. Her research has been funded by NIH, NCTSN, CDC, PCORI, and several foundations. Dr. Self-Brown has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications focusing on the impact of youth violence, trauma, and disaster exposure on youth mental health, as well as the implementation of evidence-based behavioral parenting programs and mental health practices for traumatized youth.
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences
School of Public Health
Dr. Amanda Gilmore’s research interests primarily focus on the development and testing of (1) integrated prevention programs for alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, and sexual risk behaviors among high-risk groups including adolescents, college students, and service members, (2) innovative technology-based interventions to improve the rate of treatment access and decrease treatment drop-out among underserved populations; and (3) secondary prevention programs for individuals who experienced recent sexual assault.