CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In the wake of recent disasters and tragedies, such as the California wildfires and the Virginia Tech shootings, communities across the country and here in Tennessee are preparing to respond effectively to the threats in their own backyards.

To help them build that framework for crisis response, Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP) and <a href=http://"">ValueOptions, Inc., the nation’s largest independent behavioral health care company, are hosting a free interactive workshop, “Leadership in Times of Crisis.” The one-day event will be held on Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fellowship Hall of Warren Chapel AME Church, located at 501 North Market Street.

Bob VandePol, president of Crisis Care Network, the nation’s largest provider of critical incident response services to the workplace, will be the featured presenter. VandePol has provided training and consultation to corporations, insurers, schools and other organizations regarding how to respond to and manage traumatic events, such as 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

According to Lynne Lockie, manager of behavioral health programs for VSHP, the workshop should be beneficial to many leaders and agencies in the Chattanooga area.

“When tragedy strikes, everyone immediately looks to their leadership for direction, answers and the reassurance that their lives will return to a new normal,” Lockie said. “How a leader responds during the first hours after a disaster offers tremendous opportunity for communities to take proper action and foster an environment of healing and recovery.”

The workshop is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to guide and support communities during a tragedy. Workshop sessions will cover best practices on crisis communication, achieving recovery and resiliency through careful and thorough advance planning, and finding a common solution when facing a crisis.

To register or learn more about the Leadership in Times of Crisis workshop, e-mail or contact Robyn Brown (423) 535-8308.

About ValueOptions, Inc.

ValueOptions, the nation’s largest independent behavioral health care company, covers more than 23 million individuals through a variety of direct contracts with health plans and employers, as well as through state and county agencies. ValueOptions is a national managed care company that specializes in disease management for all mental health and chemical dependency diagnoses.

About Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP)

Volunteer State Health Plan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Founded in 1993, the Chattanooga-based company focuses on managing care and providing quality health care products, services, and information for government programs. VSHP currently serves more than 300,000 members.