FOREST (Fostering Optimal Regulation of Emotion for prevention of Secondary Trauma): Implementation and evaluation of a burnout prevention program for staff in gun violence prevention programs.

Project: Research project

Project Details


READI Chicago is an innovative program designed to reduce gun violence by providing community-based outreach, psychosocial support, and job skills training to adults living in Chicago neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of unemployment, poverty, and firearm injury and mortality. The success of programs like READI is dependent on skilled, resilient staff who are able to sustain a supportive connection with their clients, yet exposure to chronic stress and trauma places front-line staff at risk of poorer psychological and physical health and burnout. Our team at Northwestern has developed a program that teaches skills for increasing positive emotions, even in the midst of stress. We have shown that these positive emotion skills can improve well-being, for example, by decreasing depression, anxiety, and pain. Related research suggests the program might also prevent burnout and job turnover, which is a concern for sustaining the intensive programs at READI Chicago. Building on this work and in collaboration with READI Chicago, we developed and pilot tested the FOREST (Fostering Optimal Regulation of Emotion to prevent Secondary Trauma) program to help front-line staff maintain well-being and reduce burnout. In the proposed R21, we will adapt FOREST to be delivered by trained staff from the three READI sites in Chicago and develop implementation and evaluation plans to lay the foundation for the R33. In the proposed R33, using a hybrid type 2 implementation-effectiveness trial, we will study the delivery of FOREST by trained READI staff (the positive emotion ambassadors). Guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation and Sustainment (EPIS) framework and integrating the Dynamic Adaptation Process (DAP), our overall goal is to develop, implement, and manualize the FOREST program and build capacity for READI Chicago to sustainably enhance resilience, prevent burnout, reduce turnover, and increase emotional well-being, job satisfaction and effectiveness amo
Effective start/end date9/17/219/16/23


  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (1R21AT011863-01)


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