AllOne Health Resources Partners with Boston Athletic Association to Offer 2013 Boston Marathon Runners and Volunteers Web-Based Counseling

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Through the use of webinar technology, AllOne Health Resources, a workforce health and productivity company, offered critical incident counseling services to the global 2013 Boston Marathon community.

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As a Boston-based health services company, we wanted to contribute. Since we had the experience and resources to help out, we felt compelled to support our community.

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AllOne Health Resources, a workforce health and productivity company, partnered with the Boston Athletic Association to offer web-based critical incident counseling services to the 2013 Boston Marathon runners and volunteers. The program featured 2 separate one-hour long webinar events, one for the marathon runners held on Tuesday, September 24th, and one for the volunteers, held on Wednesday, September 25th. These events offered participants across the globe an opportunity to come together, share, and ultimately move forward.

Reaching out to assist the B.A.A. community was a natural fit for the Boston-based AllOne Health Resources. For more than 4 decades, AllOne Health Resources has provided support for people involved in disasters and mass casualties including the 9/11 attacks, the BP Oil spill, and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. AllOne Health Resources’ President, Deborah Talbot, states,

“As a Boston-based health services company, we wanted to contribute. Since we had the experience and resources to help out, we felt compelled to support our community. This time, the critical incident was in our backyard and we were all a part of it. I am so glad our resources could be put into action in support of the B.A.A., the runners, and the volunteers.”

It is through vast experience that the AllOne Health Resources’ team understands when people are involved in tragic and overwhelming incidents, it is critical to stay connected to one another and have opportunities to share experiences. Thus, the idea of a web-based event for the global Boston Marathon community was born.

Within 24 hours of the first invitation being sent to the B.A.A. participants and volunteers, over 600 people had registered; and, as the webinars neared, the number continued to grow with registrants from around the world. Increasingly positive and thankful feedback poured into the AOHR staff. As Brooke Pollock, Marketing Coordinator at AllOne Health Resources states,

“We knew anyone that was a part of this year’s race was affected by the tragedy regardless of how close or involved they were with the actual bombings; but, we were overwhelmed by just how many people are still searching for help and closure. It is, truly, an honor to be offering this program to the amazing B.A.A. community.”

Each webinar was presented by Barry Beder, MSW, LICSW and covered topics such as loss of control, normal stress reactions, critical stress reactions, and an important moment of healing. Over the past 25 years, Beder has designed and presented award-winning stress management, change management, health and wellness, and safety-based programs for hundreds of corporations, hospitals, and HMOs. Beder was the first health consultant to design and conduct stress management programs for Air Traffic Controllers at O’Hare International Airport. For three years, Mr. Beder acted as the sport psychology consultant for the Boston Red Sox and Harvard Men’s Ice Hockey team. Additionally, he has been directly involved in many of the aforementioned AllOne Health Resources critical incident responses. Mr. Beder has found that providing an opportunity for those affected to connect either emotionally or physically with others who shared in a tragic experience greatly helps in the processing of emotions and managing of stress. As Beder states,

“It’s about people coming together and learning to move on. I am very proud of all the runners and volunteers who participated in the webinars and were willing to tackle and discuss this important event in all of our lives.”

The instantaneous response that AllOne Health Resources and the B.A.A. witnessed through these events echoed the need for this community to be brought together to heal. The runners and volunteers expressed various emotions including a great deal of apprehension for returning to the Boston Marathon. As the hour-long sessions came to a close, though, participants rapidly wrote in comments of gratitude for being able to connect with others who really understood what they have been going through for the past 6 months. Their feelings seemed to become validated and accepted, and they appeared to be more resolute in their goal of moving forward.

WBZ’s Lisa Hughes, who personally witnessed the events as they unfolded at the finish line, filmed a special video for the volunteer webinar. The video featured three people injured in the blasts thanking the volunteers that helped save them and showing them how they are moving forward with their lives. Even Ms. Hughes expressed her determination to be back in Boston next April.    

As Chris Troyanos, Medical Director of the B.A.A., stated,

”Our goal with these efforts was to help people heal and move forward. And, we hope moving forward means that they feel it’s okay to return to Boston, and, more importantly, it’s okay to come back and have a great experience in Boston.”

The Boston Athletic Association has been moved by the tremendous amount of resources and support that has been offered to them in response to what happened in April. In addition to the incredible resources and leadership that AllOne Health Resources has volunteered, several other groups have reached out to assist in healing efforts. The acclaimed Schwartz Center will be providing special rounds events for the first responders in the coming months, and the American Red Cross continues to provide ongoing support in the wake of last April’s tragedy.

AllOne Health Resources has provided workforce health solutions for over forty years, including occupational health, wellness, employee and student assistance programs, and on-site medical services. They operate in all 50 states and 54 countries across the globe.

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Brooke Pollock
AllOne Health Resources

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