Post a composite review
Unpost a composite review
Search all MERLOT
Select to go to your profile
Select to go to your workspace
Select to go to your Dashboard Report
Select to go to your Content Builder
Select to log out
Search Terms
Enter username
Enter password
Please give at least one keyword of at least three characters for the search to work with. The more keywords you give, the better the search will work for you.
Select OK to launch help window
Cancel help


Advanced Search


Peer Review

Psychological First Aid Tutorial (PFA)

by Debra Olson , Craig Hedberg


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jan 10, 2009 by Health Sciences
Overview: This learning resources was developed by the This project was developed by the University of Minnesota Center for Public Health Preparedness. According to the web site "This training presents the basic principles and goals of disaster mental health and outlines the critical role of public health professionals in recognizing a range of reactions to traumatic events. Participants are eligible to receive up to .05 CEUs .5 contact hours for completion of training including pre-test, post test and evaluation. Registration (free) is required to use the learning resource.
Type of Material: This material is a tutorial in the form of online training modules.
Recommended Uses: The recommended use is to prepare individuals for assistance in the event of a disaster event. All health professionals as well as students in healthcare, not just in public health, may greatly benefit from this learning resource.
Technical Requirements: The stated requirement for use include:

Audio capability required.

Operating system Requirements:

  • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
  • Macintosh 9.x, 10.1.x

Supported Web Browsers:

  • Netscape 4.76, 6.2.1, 6.2.2, or 6.2.3
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher, including IE 6.0
  • AOL 7.0

Other: A PC or Macintosh computer with at least 64 MB RAM and one of the browsers specified above, the Flash 6 player and the RealPlayer8 or higher.

The modules will each take between 5 and 30 seconds to load into the user's browser, depending on the connection speed and the power of the computer's CPU. The modules have audio; users can connect and wear headphones or use computer speakers.

Identify Major Learning Goals: The goal of this module is to provide an overview of disaster mental health that will enable the learner to identify reactions to trauma and take appropriate and effective action in partnership with other individuals and organizations.

After completing this module, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe why disaster mental health is important in emergency preparedness planning and response to public health threats.
  • Distinguish between disaster mental health and traditional psychotherapy.
  • Identify normal stress reactions to abnormal situations.
  • Outline the basic principles and goals of disaster mental health.
  • Identify individuals who are at greater risk for more serious psychological and emotional reactions to trauma.
  • Describe the critical role you play in disaster mental health.
  • Summarize the importance of building community partnerships.
  • Target Student Population: The primary audience for this training includes:
    • Health care professionals and public health workers (especially state and local health department staff) who are responsible for emergency preparedness
    • Medical Reserve Corps volunteers
    • Health professions students
    • Employees of hospitals, public health agencies, and other organizations who may interact and respond in a large-scale emergency
    • Licensed clinicians and other interested health care professionals who want information about emergency preparedness.
    Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The only prerequisite is one-time registration to access the modules.

    Evaluation and Observation

    Content Quality

    Rating: 4.75 stars
    Strengths: The content is very accurate, valid and reliable. It very concise and teaches very valuable content related to the soubject. Not advanced material is required as the content is very user friendly.

    Each list of module comes with a clear title and an expandable window that contains a succinct description of the training and the list of objectives. Upon opening a module, the trainee is presented with a 10-item pretest before the training begins. A post-test is given at the end with a requisite of a passing score to get the certificate that comes with the completion of the training.

    Concerns: Due to the simplicity of the delivery of the material, it is not very comprehenisive nor does it provide references or evidence based citations.

    Some users may be concerned that personal data (name and other demographics) are required before accessing the learning module, even after registering to use the site.

    Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

    Rating: 4.75 stars
    Strengths: The lay-out and design of the modules make this site effective for interested trainees. It is complete with audio-visual capacity and interactivity. The learning content is easy to understand. If a trainee fails the post-test, he/she can go back and review the training and retake the test. There is no limit to this process.
    Concerns: Some users may find certain modules maybe lengthy and as a result have difficulty with their interest and concentration.

    Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

    Rating: 4.75 stars
    Strengths: The material is presented as a powerpoint slide style with audio that is easy to use. The interactivity helps the user to be engaged and the design of the slides is very well done in terms of color and sound. The site is very cohesive.
    Concerns: Although the tabs to the different modules were useful, the tab feature allows users to skip learning content.

    Other Issues and Comments: This is an excellent resource for everyone in healthcare, not just in public health. This learning resource is designed at the appropriate learning level and accomplished the stated goal.