Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Office of Health Affairs (OHA)
Institute of Medicine, Committee on DHS Workforce Resilience
December 13, 2012
Alisa Green
Linda Perkins
Policy & Programs – Workforce Engagement
Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer
Department of Homeland Security
Capstone Consulting Group
Supporting Office of Health Affairs
Department of Homeland Security
DHS has ~200,000 Federal employees in its HQ and Operational Components. Most are
based in the US. With Coast Guard Personnel, DHS has ~260,000 employees.
Headquarters Components
• Approximately 7,500
• NPPD includes
the Federal
Protective Service
Federal employees, most of
them full-time and based in
the National Capital Region
Operational Components
• Approximately 185,000 permanent and 9,000 intermittent/temporary employees
(numbers all rounded, not including U.S. Coast Guard active duty and reserve)
• All Operational Components
except FLETC are all
headquartered in DC but most
employees outside of the HQ
functions are based around the US
• TSA includes
Federal Air
Marshal Service
8,300 civilian,
43,000 active
duty and
and 9,000
DHSTogether Oversight
• The Office of the Chief
Human Capital Officer
(OCHCO), headed by the
CHCO, is in the
Management Directorate
• The Office of Health Affairs
(OHA) is headed by the
Assistant Secretary for
Health Affairs, who is also
the DHS Chief Medical
Officer (CMO)
Background: Leadership Concerns
 Suicide: Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
suicide is a tragedy that negatively impacts mission effectiveness
and Department-wide morale.
 Stress: The Department’s workforce and their families are
potentially vulnerable to exceptional mental and emotional
stressors due to the broad scope, unique nature and challenging
aspects of the DHS mission.
 Morale: Consistently low rankings in the “Best Places to Work in
the Federal Government” sub-index of the Employee Viewpoint
Survey indicate challenges for employee engagement.
 Result: Deputy Secretary asked Dr. Garza, Assistant Secretary
for Health Affairs, to take action.
Background: Program and Policy Inventory
Components reported their current policies, programs and
training courses across the health and wellness spectrum
including the stage of development and location availability
Key Findings:
 Little consistency across the Department in all areas
 Further research needed to determine best options for
maximizing current programs
 Gaps include low Employee Assistance Program
(EAP) utilization rates, varied levels of program
maturity and availability
Background: Task Force
 Conceptualized as a leadership-level cross-Component group,
to be chaired by the Deputy Secretary
 Discussions centering on best practices and potential new
Background: Cross Collaboration
 OHA, OCHCO, FLETC & Operational Components
 Buddy Training Curriculum
 Working Groups
 Two Resilience Symposia
Background: Training
 First Training: “Safety Stand Down”
 2010
 Second Training: “Stress Management / Suicide Prevention”
 2011/2012
Background: DHS Approach to Resilience
A holistic approach to organizational and employee resilience and wellbeing
Physical State: physical activity,
nutrition, healthy choices, general
Emotional State: stress
management, healthy relationships
at work and home, mental health,
Family / Community: healthy
relationships with family and friends,
connections to community, interests
outside of work
Work: engagement, productivity,
control and empowerment, career
development, effective management
Culture: diversity, supportive work
environment, organizational values,
Environment: work location, work
conditions, climate, outside
Background: DHS Approach to Resilience
Modeled from Department of Navy Suicide Reduction Program
The ideal state
 Optimal wellbeing
is a mix between
motivating stress
and a lack of
 Most individuals
do not achieve
balance in all
aspects of their
lives at all times
Stress has become
A normal part of
everyday life
• A person who is less
• Stress can be
resilient or who has
caused by negative
experienced an
and positive life
overwhelming event
Prevention • Individuals who are Intervention may not be able to
cope in a healthy
resilient are more
likely to cope with
• Unlikely to return to
stress on their own
normal functioning
or with some
without assistance
• May be at risk for
serious outcomes
Current Status: Institutionalizing the Program
 Resiliency and suicide prevention efforts are largely done
in and by the Components.
 DHSTogether is a headquarters initiative to build
resiliency and suicide prevention capability and provide a
unified approach.
 DHSTogether provides guidance and funding for common
issues, approaches, and for developing solutions that can
be used by multiple Components (phase 1 projects).
DHS Together Program Goals
 Strengthen Leadership understanding and support of resiliency
and suicide prevention
 Strengthen Individual Resiliency
 Strengthen Organizational Resiliency
 Increase accessibility, timeliness, variety, quality, of
intervention services
 Reduce work-related stressors that decrease resiliency and
increase suicide risk factors
 Establish and maintain structure and information / data needed
to govern the elements common to all Components
Current Status: Institutionalizing the Program
 Current Projects:
 Resiliency Assessment Tool
 Leadership Briefing: Impact of Stress on Decision Making
 Adapted Peer Support for Operations Personnel
 Peer Support Coordinator Training Course
 Interpersonal Relationship Training
 FY2013 in Development
 Operational Stress Assessment Tool
 Each project will be evaluated for effectiveness prior to full
scale implementation
Current Status: Resiliency Assessment Project
 Partner: Uniformed Services University Health Science
(USUHS) Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
 Description: Create resiliency assessment tool for DHS
 Desired Outcomes:
 Provide statistical information on the resilience status of
DHS Component personnel to DHS
 Direct DHS employees to appropriate training and
Current Status: Leadership Briefing
 Partner: USUHS
 Description: Educate DHS leadership on the relationship of
stress to decision-making capacity, operational performance,
and employee health
 Desired Outcome: Increased leadership support for the efforts
to reduce operational stress and increase employee resilience
Current Status: Adapted Peer Support for Ops
 Partner: USUHS
 Description: Create an internal cadre of personnel who can
provide peer support in the closed, around-the-clock, pressurecooker of operations centers and similar environments; in
order to support good decision-making and reduce barriers to
seeking help.
 Desired Outcomes:
 Increase help seeking behaviors in the target population
 Train a cadre of personnel to identify the signs and symptoms of
stress and distress
 Expand to other environments beyond HQ Ops; such as watch
centers and COOP facilities
Current Status:
Peer Support Coordinator Training
 Partner: FLETC
 Description: Develop training course on how to establish and
manage a peer support program in a Federal office. Peer support
programs include both crisis intervention and care-and-concern
 Desired Outcome:
 Give DHS Components the tools to create high-functioning peer
support teams
 Increase the number of peer support programs at DHS
 Create a network of peer support program managers across
DHS to support integration of large-scale responses
Current Status: Interpersonal Relationship
Training (Strong Bonds for DHS “SB4DHS”)
 Partner: CBP Chaplains
 Description:
 Provide relationship enhancement training to DHS personnel
 Provide training to DHS personnel to teach the relationship
course (train-the-trainer)
 Desired Outcome:
 Improved communication skills
 Reduced stress in personal lives
 Improve family bonds and connectedness
 Establish a cadre of trainers
Current Status: Operational Stress Assessment
 Partners: USCG/USN/DHS Component
 Description: Modify, test, and evaluate a validated Navy tool to:
 Understand perceived operational stress
 Track trends over time
 Provide operational leadership with data regarding the
operational stress climate of their organization
 OHA partnering with USN to modify the validated US Navy tool
for two FY2013 Phase 1 pilots
Operational Stress Assessment (cont.)
 Phase 1 Project to include 2 evaluation pilots:
Coast Guard will modify and implement the stress
assessment tool to support the recently launched USCG
Operational Stress Control Program
A DHS Component with law-enforcement personnel will
assist in developing and testing a module to determine
applicability for DHS Civilian use
Operational Stress Assessment (cont.)
Desired Outcomes:
Provide operational leadership with information on
perceptions and causes of operational stress in their
Identify areas of the greatest operational stress
Provide a method to measure the effectiveness of
actions taken to minimize/eliminate stress factors
Provide tools and advice to operational leaders for
controlling operational stress
Current Status: Projects Under Consideration
 Post suicide communication toolkit
 DHSTogether strategic communications
 Supervisor / employee communication skills training
 Peer support expansion
 Projects to identify and reduce secondary stressors
 Expansion of relationship training
 Expansion of psychological first aid to Watch Centers and COOP
 Expansion of operational stress control programs and assessments
DHSTogether Questions to be addressed
 How to identify and prioritize the problems the organization is facing?
 How do we best use our limited resources to:
 Advise the organization on how to decrease the stress on its people?
 Empower the individual to deal with stresses they experience?
 Select evidence-based approaches that will work within DHS?
 How do we measure success?
 Specific initiatives
 DHSTogether Program
Backup - DHSTogether Authorities &
External Directives
 DHS QHSR and DHS Strategic Plan
Objective: Improve employee health, wellness, and resilience
 OHA Strategic Framework
Strategic Objective 4.2: Build resilience across the DHS workforce.
 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
Objective 2.3: Sustain and strengthen collaborations across federal agencies to
advance suicide prevention.
 Executive Order 13625—Improving Access to Mental Health Services
for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families -August 31, 2012
 ..this order directs the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services,
Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security to expand suicide prevention
strategies and take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health
and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their

Presentation - DHS - Institute of Medicine