National START Emergency Management Committee

Glossary of Terms

EMC: National START Emergency Management Committee

CTF: COVID Task Force Groups (sub-groups of the EMC)

Problem statement: The National START Emergency Management Committee (EMC) is a national forum developed by and with START network partners to develop a comprehensive, interdisciplinary plan to support START service users, families, providers and START teams to respond under emergency circumstances.  The EMC is committed to developing a framework for rapid mobilization across the START network, building on linkages across the START network, available resources, expertise, innovation and collective intelligence. Planful emergency response, when consistent and thoughtful, increases resiliency in those doing the work, those receiving services, and partners across our START community.

The goal of this committee is to: establish a “think tank” to develop, review and evaluate practices designed to support START service users during times of local/national crisis. The committee addresses macro level (community-level) crises as well as assist START network providers address micro level (individualized) needs as well. While the EMC was initially charged with supporting efforts in response to COVID-19, our role is also to build capacity of the START network to respond to any crisis that may affect START service users and their families as well as members of our network. To accomplish this goal, several objectives or aims must be met.

Objective 1: Address immediate gaps in emergency response to COVID-19. Assemble COVID Task Force (CTF) groups to create guidelines that address specific areas of focus: 1) mobile START crisis response; 2) therapeutic interventions; and 3) transition planning.

Objective 2: Develop a national START Emergency Response Plan that reflects the mission and values of the START model.  This must include “mission essential functions”, decision trees, and clear protocols for the START network to implement quickly in response to crises.

Objective 3: Monitor, support and provide operational assistance to CTFs so they can meet regularly to establish goals, objectives and timelines. Action plans will be developed and reviewed with the EMC regularly.   

Objective 4: Oversee the dissemination of recommendations and resources in response to COVID-19 and beyond.


Characteristics of this Committee:

Cross-crisis. Crises are defined as a risk to the health and safety of service users, their families, community partners and START teams. The committee is charged with supporting the START network through any crisis event (pandemic, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, etc.).

  • Emergency: an event (generally unexpected or unpredictable) that threatens life, health, and/or property, such that immediate action is required.

  • Disaster: an emergency that disrupts community functions and creates needs for individuals and/or communities, such that human services will be required.

  • Hazard: a “condition with the potential for harm to the community or environment”

Strategic. Efficient & effective efforts are maximized across all crises. The EMC evaluate the needs of START service users, families and supporters as well as the needs of START staff/START team and works within task forces to develop specific guidance, methods and practices that can be implemented rapidly in response to emergencies.

Productive.  Focused on the specific development of generalizable and accessible resources that contribute to success of the START community at large. This committee considers and addresses the need for transfer of knowledge across geography, cultures, languages, etc.

Innovative. The committee takes a perspective of “bringing a beginner’s mind,” promoting innovation, creativity and curiosity. Brainstorming is the cornerstone of the committee’s work and members ask important questions and promote reflective inquiry. The EMC considers new ways of doing things and promotes out-of- the- box thinking.

Cross-cultural. The committee represents START team members and community partners from diverse geographic regions with unique sociocultural experiences and will leverage this to promote culturally and linguistically competency practices across the START network.

Clearing house. This committee functions as a central communication entity, assuring the sharing and dissemination of materials and resources during crises. The group vets’ ideas and content provided by task force groups and assists with distribution across the START network and the IDD-MH network with support of the Center for START Services.

Inter-disciplinary. The EMC is made up of members from across disciplines and roles, including individuals with lived experiences. Each member plays an important role and offers a unique perspective.

Mission focused. This committee applies the mission, values, principles and practices of START to the work and promotes and ensures fidelity to the START model especially during times of crisis.

Consensus driven. Like the START network, this committee is built on collective intelligence. Consensus-driven Decision making ensures that the committee operates with the best interest of the START community in mind.