1st Choice Weekly News Article: April 16th, 2020

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) cont.

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author





1st Choice Family Services’ primary concern is the safety and well-being of its clients, staff, and community. This article provides readers with up-to-date information about our agency and the COVID-19 Outbreak. During these challenging and frightening times, we are confident that as an agency and community we will make it through this season of pandemic. Moreover, the management team is happy to report that our staff is in good health and working at their full capacity. As well, we hope you and your families are in good health and in a place of safety.

1st Choice Family Services’ staff are working remotely until otherwise advised by Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine. As well, our agency will continue to follow the social distancing guidelines and recommendations set-forth by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health in Organization (WHO), and Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

1st Choice Family Services’ has implemented several measures to ensure team efficiency and productivity. Our immediate goal is to provide our clients with a sense of continuity and normality.

Currently, we are utilizing a newly designed Digital Campus which exposes clients to social outlet experiences. The digital campus is comprised of course offerings (e.g., art lessons to fitness programs). Each course is hosted by credible instructors in our Virtual Office via Zoom.

Our digital campus is a highly interactive medium where participants are given an opportunity to enjoy a real-time communications platform. In this atmosphere clients and staff receive support, respect, and satisfaction. It is inspiring to watch staff unite to engage each client to reach their full potential.



Staff and Locations


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. The agenda 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, and 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
  • Admit the need for clarification when confused
  • 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 available 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.



Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Models


This week’s article will focus on the Precede – Proceed Model. To review, prior articles have focused on four models, to include the Ecological, Health Belief, Social Cognitive Theory, and Transtheoretical Model/Stages of Change. The models are utilized in program planning to more fully comprehend and rationalize health behaviors to monitor the identification, development, and implementation of an intervention.

When identifying a model and/or theory it is necessary to consider a range of factors, such as the health problem being evaluated, the population(s), and the environment in which the program is being implemented. In most cases, disease prevention and health promotion programs will typically refer to one or more models and/or theories.



Precede – Proceed Model


The PRECEDE-PROCEED model is a comprehensive structure for assessing health needs for designing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and other public health programs to meet those needs. PRECEDE provides the structure for planning a targeted and focused public health program. PROCEED provides the structure for implementing and evaluating the public health program.

PRECEDE is an acronym for Predisposing, Reinforcing, and Enabling Constructs in Educational Diagnosis and Evaluation. An assessment is needed for the ensuing community factors:

  • Social assessment: Determine the social problems and needs of a given population and identify desired results.
  • Epidemiological assessment: Identify the health determinants of the identified problems and set priorities and goals.
  • Ecological assessment: Analyze behavioral and environmental determinants that predispose, reinforce, and enable the behaviors and lifestyles are identified
  • Identify administrative and policy factors that influence implementation and match appropriate interventions that encourage desired and expected changes.
  • Implementation of interventions.

PROCEED stands for Policy, Regulatory, and Organizational Constructs in Educational and Environmental Development. It involves the identification of desired outcomes and program implementation:

  • Implementation: Design intervention, assess availability of resources, and implement program.
  • Process Evaluation: Determine if program is reaching the targeted population and achieving desired goals.
  • Impact Evaluation: Evaluate the change in behavior.
  • Outcome Evaluation: Identify if there is a decrease in the incidence or prevalence of the identified negative behavior or an increase in identified positive behavior.

This model has worked well for many health promotion topics. Also, it can effectively support one-time interventions and/or long-running programs. Refer to Figure 1 to review the model’s eight phases.


Figure 1



Timeline of Coronavirus Controls in Ohio and US


Figure 2. Retrieved here



Compared to the World


Figure 3. Retrieved Here


Half the world’s cases are now in the U.S., Spain, and Italy. The trajectory for the U.S. looks worse than other countries. As well, U.S. survival rate projections are very concerning. More people could expire from lack of access to a bed, health practitioner, or ventilator than necessary.

According to Andy Slavitt, former Lead Advisor of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, he advocates for four preventative measures:

  1. First country to test the entire U. S. population
  2. First country to develop and test a vaccine
  3. Create extremely advanced treatments
  4. Boom in making ventilators, masks, digital thermometers, and personal protective equipment


Situation in Trinidad and Tobago


Figure 4. Retrieved Here


COVID-19 Travel Info


Figure 5. Retrieved Here

As the world struggles with the public health crises and numerous interruptions brought caused by the CVID-19 pandemic, various attempts to address its blow are in progress. A number of those projects are being led by businesses that were established by alumni, professors, students, and researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

These businesses’ efforts are comprehensive and complex and designed to meet the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Their expertise is in biological engineering, community engagement, data analytics, mobile technology, and other fields MIT has focused on.

Because the novel coronavirus has triggered social distancing measures worldwide. One researcher presumes what is being done is not enough. Associate Professor, Lydia Bourouiba at MIT studied the undercurrents of exhalations (e.g., coughs and sneezes) for years at the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory and discovered exhalations produce gaseous clouds that can journey up to 27 feet.

Bourouiba’s research may have knock-on effect for the world-wide COVID-19 contagion though actions called for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on the call for six- and three-feet distancing space, respectively.

Bourouiba told USA TODAY “there is an urgency in amending the guidelines currently provided by the WHO and the CDC on the requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE), predominantly for frontline health care workers.”


CDC Study on COIVD-19 on Shoes


Figure 6. Retrieved Here


Infectious disease specialists have indicated that COVID-19 can reside on the soles of shoes from one to five days. This is because footwear is more likely to carry coronavirus if the shoe has been worn in busy areas like airports, grocery stores, and public transport.

The sole of the shoe is the primary breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, germs, and viruses. However respiratory droplets in the air from an individual infected with coronavirus could still land   anywhere on the top of the shoe. For example, the laces or the heel of the shoe.

Most soles are made from sturdy, synthetic raw materials like rubber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and/or leather lined with plastic. All of which will contain high levels of bacteria because of being non-porous, implying they do not permit air, liquid, or dampness to pass through.



Importance of Flattening the Curve


Figure 7.  Retrieved Here


As of April 7, nationally there were over 14,000 reported deaths, and experts’ have suggest “that the reports are an undercount.” A sharp rise is predicted in hot spots like New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Michigan.

Hospitals in these states are swiftly approaching capacity. Because of a in surge patients who contracted the virus weeks ago, even before social distancing precautions were ordered. Statistics from China printed in The Lancet confirms that people who lost their lives to COVID-19, the average timespan between the start of symptoms and death was 18.5 days, this includes a range of 15 to 22 days.

Several hospitals in these hot spots have ran low on crucial equipment and staff of whom are ill and at home after being infected. However, the attention on the current data and long-range forecasts can obscure the fact that the U.S. still has a chance to save tens of thousands, of lives in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

To make this work to our advantage, the U.S. citizens must continue to slow the rate of transmission by staying home. That is to say “flatten the curve” with social distancing to relieve the pressure on the health care system. Flattening the curve decreases the problem by keeping the peak of hospitalizations and deaths lower and helps to reserve medical resources.



Strategies to Counter Stigmas

Figure 8.



1st Choice Family Services

Digital Campus

Course Offerings:


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. Micaiah Wilson – Professional International Trainer from Trinidad –

Two memberships: International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and International Strength Training Association (ISTA)

  • 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 -Specialization: Organization Leadership

  • 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.