1st Choice Weekly News Article: April 2nd, 2020

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) cont.

Dr. Robin Holliman-Smith, Author





At 1st Choice Family Services, we are taking measures to protect and support our clients, employees, and communities. Regardless of where people reside, it is a recognizable fact that daily routines have been disrupted by COVID-19. As such, our professional staff exhibits pride in their ability to provide clients with a sense of continuity and normality. Even though our physical location is closed to the public, most of our staff are working remotely during this challenging time.

With a focus on maintaining safe and interactive environments, we are currently utilizing Digital Studios to provide clients with social outlet experiences. Digital Studios is a collection of social activities (e.g., instructional art lessons to group fitness programs). Activities are hosted in our Virtual Office via Zoom Video Communications.

It is awe-inspiring to witness staff coach each other in creative new ways to unite and engage clients in adherence to social distancing guidelines from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health in Organization (WHO), and Ohio Department of Health (ODH).



Staff and Location


1st Choice Family Services employs dedicated individuals with expertise in the following categories:

  • Office Administration
  • Service Managers
  • Field Trainers
  • Quality Assurance Managers, and
  • Leadership Team

1st Choice Family Services is committed to the safety of Ohioans with Development Disabilities in multiple counties throughout the state and Trinidadians in the Caribbean islands. VISION BOARD: Take over all 88 counties in Ohio by January 2022.





1st Choice Family Services overall objective is to strengthen workforce agility, competency, and performance to provide our clients with exceptional supportive services.



Strategic Agenda


1st Choice Family Services operates from a well-defined strategic agenda. It assists in prioritizing short-term initiatives that support our long-term objective. It gives staff comprehensible direction and reduces the uncertainty that comes with procedural change.

1st Choice Family Services strategic agenda includes value-based ground rules. The ground rules serve a dual-purpose:

1) to clarify expectations for participant behavior

2) it allows the facilitator to maintain a productive discussion.

Eight ground rules are listed below:

  • Respect all teammates and agree to disagree
  • Keep unnecessary jargon to a minimum
  • When confused, admit the need for clarification
  • Seek out unconventional ideas/ways to solve issues
  • Discuss alternate methods for completing assignments
  • Pull together instead of pulling away when facing challenges
  • Make decisions based on options and apply good judgment
  • Share relevant information with all staff (e.g., Connect-A-Voice, Deputy, Webmail, etc.)



Focus of this Article: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


Stress and Coping – Need Help? 

Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990

Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233

TTY (Teletypewriter) for National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-787-3224


Stress During an Outbreak Can Cause:

  • Apprehension and fear about your health and the health of family and friends
  • Changes in eating and/or sleep patterns
  • Deterioration of chronic health problems
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping at the night


Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from reading, listening, or watching news stories and social media. Hearing about COVID-19 can be distressing.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat nutritious meals, exercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, meditate, take deep breaths, and avoid alcoholdrugs, and tobacco.
  • Make time to unwind. Do other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with people to discuss your concerns.


Contact your health care practitioner if stress prohibits your daily activities for several consecutive days.



Social Cognitive Theory


Social cognitive theory (SCT), is the cognitive formulation of social learning that is best illustrated by Bandura (1986). SCT describes human behavior in terms of a 3-way, vigorous, reciprocal model in unique to personal factors, environmental influences, and behavior which continually interacts, shown in below in Figure 1. SCT combines concepts and procedures from behavioristic, cognitive, and emotional models of behavior change. A key principle of SCT is that persons learn from their own experiences, observing the actions of others, and results of those actions.

1st Choice Weekly News Articles have centered on the Socio-Ecological Model (SEM), and the Health Belief Model (HBM). Researchers believe models help to explain theories of behavior change. In facing the change associated to COVID-19, models can provide staff with a clearer framework for understanding behavior responses.

Theoretical models that earn appreciation in a discipline can shape the field and help to define the scope of practice and impact the training and socialization professionals. Additionally, public health programs and initiatives are centered on an awareness of health behaviors and the context in which they occur. In this issue an overview is provided on the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) by Bandura, (1986).

Key constructs of SCT relevant to health behavior change interventions:

  • Observational learning
  • Reinforcement
  • Self-Control
  • Self-Efficacy


  • SCT is a major theory of motivation
  • The theory assumes that internal processes motivate behavioral outcomes
  • The conceptual framework is hinges on reciprocal interactions between variables
  • Scientist continue to address key issues and new research directions

Central Premise:

The central assumption of Bandura’s theory is that persons strive for a sense of control, or the belief that they can exert a degree of influence over significant events in their loves. People exercise this sense of control using their cognitive and self-regulative abilities.



Reciprocal Determinism


The key SCT construct of reciprocal determinism illustrates that an individual can be an agent of change and a responder to change. Moreover, changes in the environment, examples of role models, and reinforcements may be utilized to promote healthier behaviors, such as individual behaviors to COVID-19 (shown in Figure 1).



Ohio, United States, and Global COVID-19 Cases (March 31, 2020)



Figure 2. Retrieved here



COVID-19 Situation in Ohio (March 30, 2020) * Outbreak on the Rise


Figure 3. Source: Ohio Department of Health. Retrieved here



Situation in Trinidad and Tobago (Updated March 29, 2020)


Figure 4. Retrieved here



Ohio Department of Health: Questions and Answers on Coronavirus Disease 2019


1st Choice Family Services utilizes information to avert the spread of COVID-19 from ODH.

Retrieved here



COVID-19 Testing




  • A mysterious outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan China was initially reported to WHO on December 31, 2019. This novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in thousands of confirmed human infections throughout China, many countries, and United States.


  • Cases of asymptomatic infection, mild illness, severe illness, and some deaths have been reported. Note: Asymptomatic infection is an infection without symptoms (also known as inapparent or subclinical infection).


  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization for CDC to begin testing using Real-Time Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) used to Diagnose Genetic Diseases via Diagnostic Panel in qualified laboratories for testing patient respiratory specimens that meet CDC criteria for COVID-19 testing.


  • Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel is a molecular in vitro diagnostic test that aids in the detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 and based on widely used nucleic acid amplification technology.


  • The product contains oligonucleotide primers (oligonucleotide is derived from the Greek “oligo,” which means few or small). Oligonucleotides are made up of 2 deoxyribonucleotides which are the molecules used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These are referred to as primers and are used to massively amplify a small amount of DNA.


  • The product also contains dual-labeled hydrolysis probes (TaqMan) and control material used in rRT-PCR for the in vitro qualitative detection of COVID-19 in respiratory specimens

Clinical laboratories should contact their state health departments for guidance if they have a suspected COVID-19 case specimen.



1st Choice Family Services

Digital Studios

Daily Activities:

Art Classes

Host: Mr. Sidney Wilson – Master Artist and Director of Therapeutic Program

  • Staff and clients join in to utilize their imaginations and develop skills to create beautiful canvas paintings. For example, art classes help to promote an optimistic attitude, nurtures emotional growth, and strengthens memory.


Athletic Club

Host: Mr. Mike Wilson – Professional International Trainer from Trinidad

  • Staff and clients are involved in a variety of activities, such as: Cardio, Jogging, Strength and Conditioning Exercises, Meditation Techniques, and Yoga Training. Established Health and Fitness Goals: Athletic purposes, Sports-driven, and Weight loss-based.


COVID-19 Forum

Host: Dr. Robin Holliman-Smith

  • All-Staff are encouraged to participate in this open environment. The forum is all-inclusive, and it provides a platform for interactive dialogue. We invite Guest Speakers to share their knowledge and areas of expertise. As well, our team of professionals are energetic and current on breaking news and top stories. Team members share their experiences, opinions, on-line news articles, and information from other media outlets.


  • Currently, our forum discussions are focused on COVID-19 and its impact on “Global Healthand the Global Economic Crisis.” An on-going comparative analysis is shared, and is comprised of Ohio, U.S., and countries around the Globe. For our Trinidad Office, we review Media Releases relevant to COVID-19. Regarding protective measures, 1st Choice Family Services follows guidelines enforced by Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, and the World Health Organization.


Digital Lounge

Host: Staff Rotation Cycle

  • Staff and clients are given an opportunity to hangout and enjoy lunch in the digital lounge together as one community. The word “community” is derived from the Latin word “communis” and it means common. Within this relaxing community, common interests are shared, cultural dynamics are captured, personal concerns are tabled, goals become reality, and “staff to staff” and “staff to client” relationships are strengthened.


Game Room

Host: Staff Rotation Cycle

  • Staff and clients are given an opportunity to participate in many of the latest games (e.g., Charades, Bingo, and Hangman). The game room provides time and space for individuals to increase their mental agility, reduce fatigue, and release stress and anxiety.


Music Center

Co-Hosts: Ms. Brandi Cotton and Mr. Steve Franklin – Professional Disc Jockeys

  • Staff and clients can express an array of feelings based on their emotions which includes being happy, inspired, or contemplative. Whatever the feeling, music has a positive impact on an individual’s mood. Also, individuals are given an opportunity to take part in karaoke or sing-along to display their vocal talents. Dancing to the music helps to boosts staff and clients’ level of alertness, and releases endorphins that burn off tension.


TikTok Videos

Host: Service Managers

  • Staff and clients learn how to create personalize videos that capture life’s most precious moments. TikTok enables participants to share their passions and innovative expressions in designing their video productions. This activity includes a weekly entertaining TikTok dance challenge and prizes are awarded.





  • 1st Choice Family Services will continue to monitor the latest news on the COVID-19. Our staff will receive daily updates and participate in bi-weekly COVID-19 forums.


  • 1st Choice Family Services follows preventive measures and guidelines for combating COVID-19 in line with Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Ohio Department of Health (ODH).


  • 1st Choice Family Services would like to extend their deep gratitude to everyone who is working to ensure our clients, staff, families, and neighborhoods stay healthy and safe for the duration of this pandemic.


  • 1st Choice Family Services is extremely appreciative to other Direct Care Agencies for their dedication to providing quality and timely services that are client and family centered, culturally responsive, and sensitive to the needs, feelings, and opinions of the clients we all enjoy serving.